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Conversations with my Sons and Daughters was born as a consequence of the many mentoring requests that Dr Mamphela Ramphele receives. The book begins with an angry young man crying “Mabu a u tswitse” (“The soil has been stolen”). This idiomatic call to arms in defence of the land speaks for itself. It is thus apt that, in the one-way conversations contained in her book, Dr Ramphele strongly responds to the growing despair among young South Africans. She also points out the cracks that are appearing in South Africa’s governance since the Mandela presidency.
She shows incisively how successive post-apartheid ANC governments have betrayed the nation for a culture of impunity among those close to the seat of power, where corruption goes unremarked and accountability has been swept aside.
The book is challenging but also encouraging – it urges young South Africans to set aside their fears; to take control of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in upholding the values of the constitution; and to confront the growing inequality that is undermining good governance, social justice and stability.
In this session of We Read For You, Prof Basil Leonard unpacks the essence of this book.
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