Nelson Mandela Foundation

Reflections on the Foundation dialogue, “What Does This Moment Call For?”, from Otsile Nkadimeng, matric candidate, Jeppe High School for Boys.

"The world is equally balanced between Good And Evil, your next act will tip the Scales.” – Robert Franklin

The hard and sometimes tedious process of building the Republic is not yet complete.

This statement I felt, best encapsulates the overarching message I took from the Critical Dialogue series’ “What does this moment call for?” panel discussion hosted at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in March. I say this because a significant amount of what was envisioned for the new democratic South Africa seems to have been lost in between the squabbles over wealth, power and influence. A nation that was supposed to be founded on the basis of social justice and equality for all seems to have lost sight of these founding principles laid out in the freedom charter. In abandoning these fundamental ideas, we have betrayed the legacy of the great leaders and freedom fighters who came before us.

As a young person in the final stage of their high school career, I can without hesitation say that we have never known a South Africa that was not in crisis or upheaval. The dialogue helped me to further contextualise the realities of post-apartheid South Africa, many of the crises we face are rooted in deep institutionalised systems and cultures of disenfranchisement that are designed to oppress the most vulnerable in our society. The failure on the part of the government, as well as political, business and other leaders, to successfully address these injustices has resulted in a society that is increasingly politically polarised. This contributes to an environment in which the country seems to be backsliding. This backsliding can be seen in the growing instances of racially motivated attacks like that which occurred in the Free State during the festive season last year as well as the growing xenophobia against foreign nationals across the country. All of these factors and many more have the potential to set us on course for total civil unrest and chaos.

I must say, this situation is completely antithetical to the core principles and values on which our nation was founded.

During the dialogue, panellist Nontando Zintle Ngamlana remarked that “We all are making assumptions that somewhere, there is somebody that holds the vision for our country, and has our best interests at heart”.