IN QUOTES | Mogoeng Mogoeng on equality, colonialism and apartheid

25 November 2019 - 08:32 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus.
Image: Twitter/@NelsonMandela

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says the problems SA is facing are a direct consequence of apartheid and colonialism.

Speaking at the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus at the weekend, Mogoeng said anyone who thought differently was being “mischievous”.

Here is what he said:

Consequence of colonialism and apartheid

“Most of the problems we have to deal with right now are a consequence of colonialism and apartheid. It’s critical that we never stop talking about it.

“Let us not waste time polarising society. Let’s focus on principle. Let’s confront and expose any institution and individual who practises discrimination.”

Rights under the constitution

“Very little is going to be changed if our people are ignorant of their rights under the constitution. You can’t fight for something you don’t know you have a right to.

“The greatest facilitator of sustained injustice is keeping people ignorant of what they are entitled to. Knowledge is power.”

25 years of shame

“It really is a shame that 25 years down the line we still have so many of our people suffering as much as they do. It is a shame that inequality has become sharper during our constitutional democracy than during apartheid, and check who is at the top.

“Twenty-five years later so many people still do not have homes; racial and gender discrimination and tribalism are still so prevalent.”

Unity

“We need unity now more than ever before. It has got to be something that each one of us worries about on a daily basis. The simplest way to start is to learn more about or know more about one another.

“As a South African you've got to want to know other languages. We can't just be learning English. We've got to know Tshivenda, isiXhosa ... if you are committed in building the unity we so desperately need.”

Madiba's commitment

“We need to be strong and united as the people of South Africa. We never used to be united as black and white people of this country, as you know, but unity is essential for the realisation of what [former] president Nelson Mandela refers to as 'the vision enshrined in this constitution'.

“We dare not forget that Madiba was so committed to the fundamental human rights that are embodied in our constitution that he was prepared to die in the pursuit of that idea.”


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