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Johannesburg - “We vote for people we don’t believe in and spend our time around the dinner table bitching and moaning.”
These were the words of Agang SA leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele during a round-table discussion on leadership and social change at Wits University on Wednesday.
Ramphele, who was hosted by the university’s Student Development and Leadership Unit, said South Africans needed to step out of their comfort zones and stop settling for mediocrity.
“You don’t have to accept the mediocrity around you. You don’t have to accept what other people think of you. You don’t have to accept that there’s no alternative. You have to move out of your comfort zone. People are afraid to take that step, they don’t realise the power they have,” she said.
Ramphele said it was this mentality that made people allow themselves to be taken for a ride by self-proclaimed liberators.
“When you say to a child 30 percent is good enough for you to pass because I don’t want you to fail, what does that (mean)? We’re saying poor black children are not smart enough… We’re imprisoning the mind of the children and their parents. Isn’t that a betrayal of the promise of freedom?” she said.
Ramphele said it was this imprisonment that allowed people to “become tolerant of the nonsense the ANC has been dishing out for the past 20 years”.
A student, however, hit back at Ramphele, saying she was a hypocrite and suffered from “intellectual dishonesty”.
During the question-and-answer section of the talk, a student accused Ramphele of being hypocritical because she was speaking about inequality while she had openly admitted to having millions.
“You know the stats (on the pass rates), you know that only 6 percent of the pupils got between the 30 percent and 50 percent pass rate. You know poverty levels have gone down… and that more… people are getting into university. You’re giving us this gloomy and dirty picture… I think you’re a hypocrite.”