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If Nelson Mandela knew what was happening in SA, his heart would bleed, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said at the University of the Free State’s global leadership summit on Wednesday
He said even though there were many outstanding South Africans who could go anywhere in the world and make a success of themselves but chose to remain in SA to better the country, there were still problems plaguing society.
“It’s unacceptable that there are people who still go to bed hungry. It’s unacceptable that our children should still be studying under trees.
“It’s unacceptable that it’s the third term (of the school year) and there are children with no textbooks,” he said.
Tutu also lambasted the 30 percent pass mark.
“Who wants their children (to have passes) with a 30 percent? Is that why we struggled? Is that why people went to jail and died?”
Speaking to the students, who were the majority of delegates who attended the talk, Tutu said it was up to this generation to change the situation.
“Things have changed, but will you allow us to go to our graves smiling or will you allow us to go to our graves weeping?”
Professor Mark Solms, who heads the department of psychology at the University of Cape Town and is the owner of the Solms-Delta wine estate in Franschhoek, said even though SA had achieved a miracle when apartheid came to an end, “that good miracle has not miracled away the problems we’re left with”.
“There are still abnormalities we need to fix before we can say transformation has succeeded.”
Solms, who is part of the group that established the Franschhoek Charter that was launched early last year, told the story of how he had started the process of transformation on his own farm in Franschhoek.
He said the key to making an effective change was starting small in one’s immediate surroundings.
Solms told how, after getting assistance from a historian and other colleagues at UCT, they were able to establish that the farm originally belonged to a black community, but had been handed to a German soldier.
He said he couldn’t simply give the farm away because it had been in his family for seven generations. Instead, Solms had agreed to assist his farmworkers in getting a loan to buy the farm next to his.
The workers had no assets to access the loan, so Solms listed his farm to secure the loan.
“Now, it’s in my interest to make sure that the farm works,” he said.
Solms said this collaboration had rewarded him and the workers profoundly on a human level and also financially.
“I gave nothing away, I still own my farm… Now, we have the best farm, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is.
“We all care because we have a stake in it,” he said.
Tutu was one of the panellists at a session titled Transformation in Action.