Intellectuals fail to inspire us

2015-03-15 15:00

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The debate on the role of intellectuals in post-apartheid South Africa is uninspiring and boring.

Many activists and propagandists have – mistakenly – been “intellectuals” for too long. Not surprisingly, when the new democracy dawned, they were found wanting.

They found themselves with no role to play and many were absorbed into government.The few who were left continued to hold the fort by speaking the truth and providing solutions.

Of all the challenges in society where intellectuals can provide solutions, the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection deemed it fit to organise a seminar on the role of intellectuals.

Really?Interestingly, instead of concerning themselves with the socioeconomic and cultural issues facing our country, most of the so-called intellectuals and commentators had nothing more to offer than to say that President Jacob Zuma is bad for the ANC and bad for the country.Beyond that, it is just emptiness.

To reduce all the country’s challenges to the actions of an individual reflects the intellectual bankruptcy of this coterie.If intellectuals do not know their roles 20 years into democracy, then they were never intellectuals in the first place.

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