Monday, February 18, 2013

On believing in 'our potential for greatness' Mamphela Ramphele rollsup her slieve ...

Finally, some sort of political move that inspires me to blog again. No, I'm not referring to our very own JayZee's latest dance move, nor to the 'Koekie-Loekie' hit down in the Western Cape. I'm referring to the speech by Dr Mamphela Ramphele today, called Rekindling the South African dream

Without going in to any indepth political analysis, my surface reading of the speech suggests that Mamphela Ramphele is doing a Barack Obama on us. And I love it. She is an impressive leader. She commands worldwide respect for her public leadership role, yet she is also inspiring. (Some boardsitters are simply boring - many driven by fear of an ANC backlash or worse, redeployment - no names mentioned, Mr Prez). We are currently in a position where most of the prominent thoughtleaders of our time, have sold their souls - their heard-earned integrity at cut-down prizes for positions, money and favour with the current lot of looters. Not so with Mamphela Ramphele. She remained dignified yet scathing in her critique of the current looting of public funds at the expense of the poor. Speaking of the poor ...

Of course, one have to be careful. No-one is an angel and immune to the lure of power and money. Dr Ramphele is no socialist. She certainly is no stranger to the inner-workings of notorious institutions like the World Bank.Ideologically she will face an uphill battle amongst die-hard opponents to neo-liberal globalisation and to explain its devastating impact on poor countries. Key questions migh be, how we find a healthy tension and relationship within the various, very powerful forces shaping global trade? This is going to be a key performance area for the good doctor. If our economy is to be a up for some radical transformation, through skills development and the creation of opportunities, how will she communicate the fact that these proposals are any different from the policy proposals of the (proudly liberal) DA. Given her legacy, Dr Ramphele might be wise to pick up the scrambles from the PAC and Azapo and then with perhaps a 5-7% gain at the polls next year, push for a leadership role amongst the opposition. Those political parties carrying some sort of legacy of Black Consciousness are dead. However, Mamphela Ramphele have the opportunity to salvage something of the Biko legacy. They key question will be, whether she has the political clout, organisational machinery and the money to turn that legacy into a vibrant, imaginative dream. Will she be able to bridge the gap?

It would take more than inspiration to dig ourselfes out of the hole that we as a nation finds ourselves. I am however hopeful that it can be done and I hope with initiatives live the one of Dr Mamphela Ramphele. This was just something I wondered about: is there anything that can take us beyond the kind of crash cynicism that is so evident in the kind of nasty tweets and comments that flooded our timelines the last few hours? Perhaps we need more than inspiration, we need hard work and people committed to give their best. Yet, let us also be real here: the kind of work and effort to reverse the damage that was done the last few years under JayZee misrule, need inspiration, the courage to dream and the hope to through yourself at this task. Perhaps the words that sums up this kind of hope-filled courage comes from Dr Ramphele herself.

I have no illusions about the difficult road ahead. Bridges get trampled on. But I trust my fellow South Africans’ capacity to come together at critical times to do what others believe is impossible. I believe in our potential for greatness.
We don't need to dance and sing on this... let's get to work.

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