Ubuntu-driven leadership is needed for South Africa to ‘bounce forward’ as a nation, according to Professor Thuli Madonsela, chair in social justice research at Stellenbosch University and the founder of the Thuma Foundation.
Delivering the keynote address on the first day of the Trialogue Business in Society Conference on 10 May, Madonsela said that the country has pivoted away from social justice, as promised by the Constitution, but returning to a sense of shared humanity can help us to ‘realise the dream’.
Reflecting on the challenges we have faced over the past few years – the Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity, around 70% youth unemployment – as well as the decade of state capture, Madonsela said we need to address the “grievances and exclusions from the common goods” that prompted the civil unrest in July 2021, and which threaten social stability. Disaffection has led to a situation in which “… our people are gaslit to fight against our fight against corruption,” Madonsela said, adding that our failure to confront inequality and recognise fundamental human rights will further alienate communities from democratic processes.
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