Down the road at Parliament, protesters were calling for action against gender violence and xenophobia.
Up the road at the South African Jewish Museum, the Cape Council’s Advocacy sub-committee had arranged a more positive panel discussion on Advocating for a Shared and Abundant Future with speakers Hlumelo Biko, son of Steve Biko and Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Sihle Ngobese and Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran from UCT’s Graduate School of Business.
Introduced by Cape Council chairperson Rael Kaimowitz, the thought-provoking event was shared with a packed audience that included community members, politicians and representatives of NGOs.
Recently Biko had published a book called Africa Reimagined: Reclaiming a sense of abundance and prosperity. This had been triggered by the shallow conversations around him on race, politics, and economics and whether the country was worth saving.
Many people did not understand the constitution. It was a paper freedom and courses in civic education were needed in our schools.
Biko spoke about our level of shared history and the Jewish community’s close-knit families, their reverence for empowerment, education and the value of institutions and the obligations on Jewish families to create a nurturing environment for their children to achieve academically with the power of high expectations.
Because there was a failure of law and order in South Africa, communities were creating a different type of order through gang violence. This could lead to an ungovernable society that would force many people to question whether they should stay or leave. Jews had been displaced so many times, they did not want to be displaced again.
“The Jewish community is an activist community. This is a national crisis and I want to engage your help”, said Biko.
Ngobese thought decisions were being made out of self-interest, not on the family level. He believed the biggest problem was the chasm between the political elite and the ordinary person with politics being stoked up by segmenting people by race or class. The rhetoric should be ignored. Reparation would take the country down a slippery slope. A prosperous country was a property-owning country.
Dr Sewchurran found technology a double-edged weapon. He felt students should listen more carefully and care more.
The topics brought up by the three challenging, highly articulate speakers, will resonate with the audience long after the fact and the Board was to be complimented for putting the evening together.
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To read the editor’s column this month, titled ‘Why we need more difficult females’ click here
To read the most read story online in September, click here
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