Active citizenry needed: Ramphele

By Drum Digital
07 May 2013

People need to be active citizens, not passive "subjects" to be able to take control of their lives, Agang founder Mamphela Ramphele said on Tuesday.

"When apartheid ended, we under-estimated what it would take to change from being the subjects of undemocratic governments, denied the right to make our own choices, to becoming citizens of a stable constitutional democracy," she said in Cape Town.

Ramphele was addressing delegates to "Shape", a group which bills itself as one where young people discuss social innovation strategies, ahead of the World Economic Forum.

"... It is only by becoming active citizens, by looking to ourselves for solutions to the problems that affect our communities and by holding those in power accountable for their promises and actions, that we can take the step from passive subjects to active citizens and reclaim control over our lives," she said, according to a summary of her address.

She said that in many parts of Africa, young people were so disillusioned with the behaviour of government leaders that they had either withdrawn from public life, or remained on its margins.

She told the group citizen action was needed to support communities.

Agang is a political platform which was formed in February and intends contesting the 2014 national elections.

-by Sapa

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