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‘My generation didn’t die for the country’

250413. Origins Centre at Wits University, Johannesburg . Agang SA (Let's Build South Africa) leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele addressed scores of Wits University students and academics at the institution Origins Cenre in an address entitled "Fear in South African Politics." 586 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko.

250413. Origins Centre at Wits University, Johannesburg . Agang SA (Let's Build South Africa) leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele addressed scores of Wits University students and academics at the institution Origins Cenre in an address entitled "Fear in South African Politics." 586 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko.

Published Jun 19, 2013

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Cape Town - There was a huge pool of non-voters and five million new voters who would “be seen dead before they vote for any of the parties on the horizon right now”, says Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele.

It was the DA’s failure to understand this dynamic that had resulted in the breakdown of talks that could have led to a joint force.

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Speaking days before the official launch on Saturday of her party which will contest next year’s elections, Ramphele, pictured, said it had been this realisation that “got me out of my slippers and into my shoes” to enter party politics.

She told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday that 41 percent of eligible voters had failed to cast their ballots in the 2009 elections.

 

She and the DA had disagreed because the party did not understand that “it doesn’t matter how hard they try, the scars of racism in this country have not completely healed”.

 

She had proposed the formation of a neutral umbrella which could have led to the shaping of a new party that everybody hungry for an alternative would have felt comfortable with.

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“If we want to make fundamental change, we’ve got to present to South Africa’s voters an option that acknowledges the deep psychic wounds that are still oozing. And together to go on a journey of healing and building the country of our dreams,” she said.

“That’s what got me out of my slippers and into my shoes, as a grandma, to say ‘let us make one more push, to build a country that we can believe in’.”

She launched a searing critique of the status quo, saying South Africa had been “allowed to drift to catastrophic effect”.

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People were furious about rampant corruption.

“My generation didn’t fight and die in the Struggle for the country we have now.

We are failing our children and grandchildren. We made a promise of a better life for all, yet we have failed.”

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