Media Statement: 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Date of Issue: 23 November 2019
From: Nelson Mandela Foundation
Today, the Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, at the Imbizo Hall of the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus under the theme “Constitutionalism as an Instrument for Transformation”.
The lecture was attended by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Justice Sachs, members of parliament, celebrated personalities, former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela, the Princess of Africa Foundation, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Imbumba Foundation, Marah Louw Foundation, Democracy Works Foundation, and many other dignitaries and distinguished guests.
The Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Professor Njabulo Ndebele began by describing the 2016 mandate given to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to focus on constitutionalism as an overarching theme for the Foundation. The theme of the lecture, was, therefore, an expression of that mandate. The Nelson Mandela Foundation notes that “the Constitution can be, and has been, used as a sophisticated tool for protecting privilege, power and property” whereas it was designed as a tool for transformation by its designers and writers.
“Generations to come, those who care about humanity will drink from Madiba’s well.” opened the Chief Justice, describing the legacy left behind by Nelson Mandela. “The lecture is about what is wrong with our society, how did it come about that 25 years later so many people still do not have homes, that racial and gender discrimination and tribalism are still so prevalent.”
The Chief Justice spoke passionately about the need to have the constitution become a public commitment to all South Africans. He urged citizens to mobilize and bring to fruition the vision the constitution has for South Africa, and to not let it become an obligation that is only for the government to implement.
“People who say ‘please stop blaming it on Apartheid and colonialism’ are being mischevious,” said the Chief Justice, speaking on the importance of not forgoing the telling of history and the contextualization of the present.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was clear in critiquing the political elite for “extreme levels” of theft, corruption and mismanagement of public resources.
“It is time to be constitutional beings and be seen to be active citizens.” said Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, echoing the words of the Chief Justice to make the constitution “a lived reality for all”.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation will continue to focus on constitutionalism as its overarching theme in all that it does, as well as during the 2020 commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela on the 11th of February.
+27 (0)76 420 1910