SA is 'addicted' to Madiba

2010-07-22 09:57

Cape Town - South Africans have become addicted to former president Nelson Mandela and need to be cured of this addiction, said Dr Mamphela Ramphele on Wednesday.

Ramphele, a well-known academic, businesswoman and activist who also serves on the board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the country has to start thinking about how it will handle the void that will be left by Mandela's death.

Ramphele was speaking at a news conference to welcome Chilean writer and activist Ariel Dorfman, who will deliver the eighth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture this year. Dorman is known for plays like Death and the Maiden, which he wrote in 1990 about Chile's transformation to democracy.


"Madiba is already 92 years old. He won't live forever. When a parent dies, it leaves a big void. We, as a society, therefore have to think how we will handle the despondency that will come when this icon passes away," said Ramphele.

"The best way to do this, is to find ways to give expression to the principles, ideals and dreams for which Madiba lives."

She added that before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a decision was taken that the hearings would not tackle all the socio-economic challenges facing the country, and that only human rights abuses would be addressed.

"The idea was that we first wanted to strengthen democracy before we looked at the other things (socio-economic challenges).

"Now these are the things that are sometimes coming up. Things like xenophobia, violence against women and children and several destructive things."

Put the vuvuzelas down and listen to one another

It is time that South Africans put away the vuvuzela and became quiet to listen to one another, she said.

"Yes, we have won the admiration of the world, but we also got the reputation as a very noisy people," said Ramphele.

Dorfman said dialogue was the best way to celebrate Mandela's heritage.

"I do believe, however, that you have to move past the heritage of Mandela. You have to learn how to live without a father."

The lecture will be given in Johannesburg on July 31. In the run-up to the lecture, Dorfman will speak at several events.