OFFICIAL OPENING OF AN IFP YOUTH DESK AT
University of Cape Town: September 27, 2001
It gives me great pleasure to be once again at the University of Cape Town, which has always marked important milestones in my political career. I remember that it was here that in 1972 I announced my vision of a future South Africa organised on the basis of the principles of federalism, pluralism and an open society. It is significant that as I come here again, almost thirty years later, the themes which I raised then are now as relevant as ever. It is also particularly significant for me to be here as I have had the privilege of receiving an honorary doctorate from this University. Therefore, I feel that today I am coming here as an alumnus to speak to students of my own adoptive University.
Today, I am at the University of Cape Town as the leader of a Party that is growing in strength, in number and influence. Today, a new door opens for the Inkatha Freedom Party, creating the opportunity for the IFP to bring its own force for good into the hub of young academics, intellectuals and political activists. For me, this is the door to a field of challenges which we must capture, not for our own sake but for the sake of the whole of South Africa. The IFP has been one of the few parties which has dared to take up the challenges upon which the future of our fledgling democracy now hinges. I am proud to bring these challenges to the University of Cape Town and to its youth.
I believe the ground is right for a revolution to begin. I believe this University, positioned as it is to raise leaders and visionaries, requires only a catalyst to set in motion the next stage of our democratic transformation. And I believe the IFP is that catalyst. Throughout our history, the IFP has carried with pride the onerous burden of being ahead of the debate. We spoke of federalism and devolution of powers before the issue was even on the agenda for negotiations. We spoke of the need for a negotiated solution when other components of the liberation movement were still wrapped in the impossible dream of a military struggle and victory against apartheid. We put forward the need to restructure the economy of our country through privatisation and macroeconomic strategies based on liberalisation and deregulations before anyone else recognised the importance of these themes. Five years ago, I pointed out that, having created a new South Africa, our challenge is now that of creating new South Africans and a new culture which conforms to and reflects the new democratic order we have established.
We have termed this new challenge a revolution of goodwill. Many revolutions throughout the history of mankind have been generated and birthed on university campuses. Ideas have consequences and any outward manifestation of philosophies and ideologies begins as a germ of thought in the mind of a revolutionary. In South Africa, the dialectic has evolved to the point where a revolution is once again the necessary condition for new growth, for prosperity, stability and peace to emerge. But in this third millennium, the revolution we require takes on a different shape to the social upheavals of the past.
I hope that this revolution may begin on campuses and spread like wildfire through our nation, fuelled by the passionate patriotism of a new generation. The revolution this generation should bring about is to begin not by rising up against someone, but rather by standing together for the realisation of values which we have declared, but which are still far from being fulfilled and realised. The gap between legality and reality still remains wide and needs to be bridged by a generation of revolutionaries moved by courage and inspired by integrity. Our revolution of goodwill rejects exclusions, embracing the truth that inclusiveness breeds ownership, and ownership, success.
I have no fear in coming to the University of Cape Town with a message of revolution. I hope that behind the IFP Youth Desk which we open tonight, a spirit of creativity and change is seeking its outlet. This desk should not be for the IFP alone, but should be the point of departure from which certain ideas which the IFP advocates are distributed and propagated, not as IFP ideas, but as South African ideas. Amongst such ideas are the fundamental principles of integrity, responsibility, self-help, self-reliance and commitment to development.
Our country cannot succeed unless we create within the matrix of our communities, families, workplaces, businesses and institutions of government a profound dedication to a culture which recognises the value of integrity, responsibility, self-help, self-reliance and commitment to development. We need more integrity within the institutions of government as well as in any academic institution. We need more commitment towards economic development and social upliftment in each of our communities. We need a greater culture of responsibility and productivity. We need to move away from the temptation of a culture of entitlement to embrace the philosophy of self-help and self-reliance which I have advocated for almost half a century. These are profound transformations which must take place at grassroots level before we can be satisfied that the new constitutional edifice we have set in place can indeed work as intended.
In the past eight years, we have adopted two constitutions and more than 700 pieces of legislation which have radically transformed the legal make-up of South Africa. Yet we see how certain fundamental aspects of our social and institutional life remain flawed, not because of flaws in our laws, but flaws in how people understand and implement them. We still need to consolidate the notion of the supremacy of the law over the power of people, including the power of political parties. We still need to consolidate the notion that the rule of man has ended to be replaced by the rule of law.
In all levels of Government, from our highest institutions to some of the smaller municipalities, we can detect the same syndrome of people who believe that their positions in Government are there to serve them and to be an instrument of their will, rather than realising that being in Government is about becoming a servant of the law. South Africa will be a different place when we succeed in propagating a culture which makes people in Government realise that public offices are something that one goes into to serve for a certain period with the view to abandoning them for others to perform the same functions. Public offices are not like a house which one buys to settle in and make suitable for oneís own needs and pleasures. They are a ship which one has the task of navigating through rough waters on the basis of a route set out in law. This change of culture and paradigms must begin in places such as universities so that new generations may be brought up with greater integrity and dedication.
This is a first step in transforming South Africa out of the old paradigms and staid ways of thinking. It is a process which may only begin among thinking minds. From this fertile soil a new culture may grow that respects the rule of law, rather than the rule of man. From the seed planted by the Inkatha Freedom Party into the ready ground of this University, a revolution must germinate that will change the hearts and minds of South Africans and cause one nation of many peoples to rise and take a stand for justice, prosperity and truth.
The only constant which the future of South Africa has to offer is that of change. Change will continue and we must ensure that it is directed onto a positive and constructive path. We need a new culture of optimism and courage which defeats the latent pessimism which underpins many of our policy debates and public and private discourses. Both individually and as a country, we must begin developing a new "can do" attitude. We are a great country with enormous potentials and this generation has the burden to fulfil the promise of these potentials.
We are speaking tonight about the future in a world in which the winds of war are blowing again with a force and potential destructiveness never seen before. The greatest coalition of nations ever seen in the history of mankind has assembled to fight the war against terrorism and has placed behind its resolve the vastest and most terrifying military apparatus ever conceived. Future events will create new watersheds which will confront South Africa and will shape the future of new generations. We must have the courage to believe that our country will grow, prosper and develop to rightly sit among the most developed and civilised countries of the world. We must have the courage to aspire, for out of that courage our own perception of ourselves may change and, in so doing, prepare us to become better than we are and to grow further ahead than we ever dreamed possible.
Our national psyche suffers many latent injuries which are the justifiable legacy of our past of horrors, oppression, guilt and untold human sufferings. I am the product of that past and I carry with me the legacy of these horrors and sufferings. However, I feel it incumbent on me to rise and grow above them. As a nation, we must do the same. We shall never forget our past, but we cannot allow it to hold down the full measure of our dreams. We know where we come from, but that will not impair us from aspiring to go much further ahead. The conflicts which loom on the horizon present the challenge to this generation of young people to build South Africa into a country which can lead this continent and take pride in mapping the way for a genuine African Renaissance in which democracy and freedom may finally flourish throughout Africa. However, also in this respect, we must change our own paradigms and bring about a revolution of goodwill.
We need a revolution of goodwill to bring about development from the ground up. We need a culture of productivity and commitment to development. We also need to develop an open and pluralistic society which can make development possible. South Africa is far from being a genuinely open and pluralistic society. Too much is controlled by one centre of power and the relationship between government and civil society is still an unhealthy one. We must empower our communities to prevent the power which emanates from political parties and government from strangling the prospects which we still have of creating in Africa a genuinely open, vibrant and pluralistic society.
We are at a time of delicate transition when our country can still develop either towards an open or a totalitarian society. We should not be confused by the fact that we are a democracy and reach the conclusion that we are safe from becoming a totalitarian society, for a democracy could be totalitarian when the totality of powers and social control exercised within a society becomes the prerogative and monopoly of the political system, government and political parties. It will be the task of a new generation to strengthen civil society and ensure that enough power is spread throughout the building blocks of our society, its businesses, its universities and its non-governmental institutions to ensure that no single source of power may ever control our country, its free thinking and the plural expression of its will.
For instance, I often mention when I speak in universities that the IFP has always believed that the Constitution should have ensured that all our institutions of tertiary education, such as universities, should be autonomous and that their academic freedom should be entrenched by placing them outside the control of government. These are aspects of our transformation which remain on the unfinished agenda of democratic consolidation which new generations will need to carry forward in the decades to come.
I count it an honour to declare the Youth Desk of the Inkatha Freedom Party at the University of Cape Town officially open. I feel I am standing on the threshold of a change unmatched and unprecedented in this country. My Party is growing, and with it the seeds of a revolution of goodwill are being scattered throughout South Africa. This University may well be the birth place of a new South Africa, a South Africa of genuine liberation from every binding evil. Through the revolution of goodwill, poverty may be defeated, ignorance erased and unemployment become a problem of our past. But like every revolution before it, the revolution of goodwill must be borne of creativity and vision. This campus is a seedbed for both.
I wish to conclude with the plea that, through the commitment of the IFP on this campus, all students may become dedicated to free thinking combined with personal and collective responsibility. Donít ever stop exercising your duty to be a free thinker. Donít ever feel that you can escape your duty to be responsible. Responsibility and free thought are the real make-up of a genuinely free man or woman, through whom the unfinished agenda of freedom in South Africa may finally be completed.