Dr Mo Ibrahim was the guest speaker at this year's Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. He spoke on the topic "Building social cohesion" and explored themes of economic emancipation, female empowerment and leadership.
Guests at the lecture share their reflections below.
Shaun Johnson, founding Chief Executive of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, enjoyed Dr Mo Ibrahim’s message for Africa.
“While talking to students of mine, Mo said ‘Africa, get your act together!’ He made it clear that South Africa is Africa’s hero, and we need to get our house in order.”
Traditional healer Matuba Mahlatjie spoke about the Constitution as an effective means of social redress.
“Dr Ibrahim reminds us that we have ample solutions to many of our problems in the form of a world-class Constitution. Let’s use the avenues prescribed by this legislation to grow social cohesion,” he said.
Melvin Watkins enjoyed Dr Ibrahim’s message to South Africa’s leaders.
“How can you lead when you don’t understand your people? We should all use Mandela as a measure of our own performance – are we doing enough as citizens to drive social cohesion?”
George Knoke said that the lecture “hit the nail on the head”.
“Dr Ibrahim gave us a superb lecture about the advantages of leadership in Africa.”
Glenda Parker and Wayde Reubin said that Dr Ibrahim “said things that badly needed to be said. We have to go out now and DO something ... Let’s mobilise our attitudes!”
Mthetho Tshemese loved the simplicity and practicality of Dr Ibrahim’s message.
“Social cohesion is about getting involved – and getting involved is simple. We don’t need money or resources to take action. We can do something today! We don’t have to wait till we’re older – we are leaders in our youth,” he said.
Jay and Lucie Naidoo, Kami Naidoo and Frank Meintjies enjoyed Dr Ibrahim’s message of "truth".
“He spoke about real issues,” said Kami. “Sometimes leaders are afraid to lead. We need powerful leaders to take us into the future. Dr Ibrahim gave us a message that Africa needs to hear.”
Prof Mokadi and Dr Carol Maluga said that the lecture was a “practical and instructional talk about the glaring inequality in South Africa".
Florence Garishe was “speechless” after the event. She thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tshidi Mokgabudi and Mpho Letlape said Dr Ibrahim’s message was a “wake-up call. He tells us that South Africa is last on the index of African countries in terms of equality, yet this is the very thing we fought for,” said Mokgabudi.
“I think we took our eye off the ball and forgot the bigger vision,” said Letlape.
“Dr Ibrahim’s focus on BEE legislation was also insightful. What is the concept of BEE in theory versus BEE in practice? How are we addressing the gaps in application?” asked Mokgabudi.
Tsepiso Makwetla said she loved the theme of social cohesion. “Two decades on, we can’t just pay lip service to the social ills of inequality and ineffectual leadership. We need to have a frank conversation about BEE in practice and what leadership is required to grow social cohesion in South Africa and the rest of the continent,” she said.