9 November 2017

South Africa: Emboldened By Helen Suzman's Indomitable Spirit, Let's Imagine a Different South Africa

opinion

In future, we may look back at 2017 and see it as a time when the tide turned in favour of a return to the central tenets of democracy and ethical leadership. Or it could constitute a moment in which we were collectively overcome by the waters of corruption, conceit, deceit and the most depraved of human attributes. By KGALEMA MOTLANTHE.

This is an edited version of the address by Former President Kgalema Motlanthe at the Helen Suzman Annual Lecture, Johannesburg, on Tuesday 7 November.

When the name 'Helen Suzman' is invoked, a common image emerges: the silhouette of a woman, standing as a lone anti-apartheid voice in its Parliament for 13 years - committed to intentionally and strategically campaigning against the dehumanising system of apartheid.

We think of the politician who audaciously declared: "I am provocative, and I admit this. It isn't as if I'm only on the receiving end, a poor, frail little creature. I can be thoroughly nasty when I get going, and I don't pull my punches".

We remember the liberal who presented an alternate (if minority) image of white South African ideologies and ethical morality through her actions, statements and way of being.

With wit,...

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