Friday, October 23, 2015

Student protests in South Africa: Will that lead to real dialogue?

As thousands of students march on the Union Buildings today they come with a message: Take us seriously and understand that our future is at stake.

They are protesting because they are sick an tired of not being heard. So now students talk truth to power. Let us hope this leads to real change. But real change will only be sustained when there is real dialogue.

Dr Brigalia Bam wrote in 2012: "We may have been doing many remarkable things, but we seem to have unlearned the power of real dialogue, which has served us so well in the past. We confuse dialogue with robust debate, conferences and consultations, which leave most people deflated and disillusioned. Tired of talking and cynical about efforts to bring people together, we resort to radical tactics, blaming or withdrawal.

Our negative experiences of being in contested spaces where the battle for the supremacy of ideas destroys our ability to unite around a common vision are reinforcing a growing fatigue and a belief that it does not help to talk...

Our young democracy is now entering into a phase where we can no longer ignore the value of dialogue.

No longer can we rely on our struggle credentials and our past heroes. We need to become the heroes of today and tomorrow.

Our legacy should not be sought in monuments for fallen heroes, but in a united nation that unlocks the potential of all its people, especially the youth."

To this I say "Amen"!