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‘Madiba Jive’ and the future of the youth in SA, and globally

KING Misuzulu Sinqobile Hlomesakhishlangu kaZwelithini (left) and Zwide Ndwandwe. | Supplied

KING Misuzulu Sinqobile Hlomesakhishlangu kaZwelithini (left) and Zwide Ndwandwe. | Supplied

Published Jun 19, 2022


In his State of the Nation Address, the president called for a social compact that had a date stamp of July.

Baroness Minouche Shafik, the director of the London School of Economics, in her recently released book titled, “What we owe each other”, discusses intergenerational challenges of the world precipitated by climate change of the past and present.

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She calls for a social contract that enables us to reset and gather what our true North could be.

Seven years ago the right questions in this regard were asked.

In the southern tip of Africa, a young man, Zwide Ndwandwe, accosted me at OR Tambo International Airport and asked me the question of whether South Africa owed itself the answer to the question of the future of its youth.

He then said as a young African child he saw a bright future for as long as the right steps were taken. We had a deep heritage to deploy, to brighten and guarantee a better future for the youth, he said

I almost missed my flight to Cape Town as the animated lad from Umhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal rendered his thoughts about “what we owe each other as a nation”.

He then shared his long-term vision of a South Africa that was united and prosperous, but such prosperity realised and seen in its youth.

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He argued that through his focus on propelling and propagating Madiba’s message of peace and reconciliation he could use the appeal of the “Madiba Jive” to drive such a message. Since then Ndwandwe has driven this message through vintages of the Madiba Jive hosted in Richards Bay.

What then is the potential of the Madiba Jive for peace and reconciliation to not only the troubled KwaZulu-Natal region, but South Africa and the world, as Baronnet Shafik strengthens Ndwandwe’s view of Madiba on what we owe our youth.

We have seen the KwaZulu-Natal grief that the untimely demise of His Majesty the King caused, which was shortly followed by that of Her Majesty the Queen.

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The devastating effects of Covid-19 have been followed by devastating fires, floods, and food and water shortages all compressed in under 20 months. Ndwandwe, long inspired by what we owe each other, had his finger on the pulse and provided the lighting rod to us in South Africa on how Madiba’s ethos of peace and reconciliation can be propagated through his signature “Madiba Jive” with its appeal, especially to the youth.

Against all the odds of Covid-19, fires and now recent floods, Ndwandwe’s decade-long dream of defining what we owe each other was not deterred, nor deferred, as he year after year fought for bringing to our attention the solutions that lie in our midst defined by our greatness as a nation in Madiba.

Ndwandwe, like Joseph the Dreamer, has handed down a golden answer to the president’s question of what we owe each other and what the drivers of the social compact could be.

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In Ndwandwe locating Madiba as the defining moment of our actions, he has itemised one aspect that we can latch on as we strive for answers to the question of what we owe each other?

The answer Ndwandwe has latched on to has caught the attention of His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, who has acknowledged and declared his support for Ndwandwe’s extension of the question of what we owe each other, finding resonance in his new and recently launched programme of King Cetshwayo’s Heritage.

Far better an approximate answer to the right question, than the right answer to the wrong question, says John Tunkey, the statistician. Have the answers, but what we need is to ask the right questions of what we owe each other.

Ndwandwe’s vision on this question remains steadfast and is fired by his youthfulness. It is perhaps time to consider how the “Madiba Jive” for peace and reconciliation can go global in pursuit of answering the question of what we owe each other?

Ndwandwe has placed an answer on the South African flag – the “Madiba Jive” for peace and reconciliation, and in his undying spirit has extended this to King Cetshwayo’s Heritage.

Dr Pali Lehohla is the director of the Economic Modelling Academy, a professor of practice at UJ, a research associate at Oxford University, and the former statistician-general of South Africa.