Called to lead

From Baobab Mon Feb 18 2013, 13:53:31

THERE is something regal about Mamphela Ramphele. On Monday morning, in front of a clutch of microphones at the women's jail on Constitution Hill, she announced her intention to form a political party that will contest South Africa's elections in 2014. The reverence that Ms Ramphele attracts, her formidable intellect and her countless accomplishments make a political career if anything seem rather lowly.

Ms Ramphele, previously vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, made it plain (and not for the first time) what she thinks of the country's present leaders. "Corruption, nepotism, and patronage have become the hallmarks of the conduct of many in public service," she lamented. It is "appalling" that most young South Africans are not in work; "shameful" that a 30% pass mark for school leavers is deemed acceptable; "troubling" that ethnic or religious identity comes first for most of her compatriots (less than 10% will readily claim to be South African).

In such circumstances, said Ms Ramphele, she feels "called to lead". As a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and the former partner of Steve Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness movement, she has the credentials to take on the ruling ANC in a political fight. She has worked in senior positions in academia, business and at the World Bank. Many of the ingredients for a successful political career are there. Yet Ms Ramphele's foray into formal politics so far seems rather undercooked.

Her vehicle is not (or not yet) a party but rather a "political party platform". Its policies, its personnel and even its name are to be decided by a "consultative process". Ms Ramphele says she wants to reduce South Africa's political fragmentation. But a new political party might further split the anti-ANC vote. Asked whether she had considered joining the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, her response was: "I'm not a joiner". But if Ms Ramphele's new venture is to succeed, she must hope that others do not feel ...

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

People and Organizations:

You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Africa:   World Trade Talks Offer Historic Opportunity for Africa (guest column)
8 October 2015

As world leaders met at the recent United Nations summit to adopt global goals to end extreme poverty in 15 years, a determination to create broader and more participatory development was evident. [read more]

Africa:   Corporate Council on Africa Ends Merger Talks with U.S. Chamber (news)
8 October 2015

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), an organization that has spearheaded much of the business and investment engagement with Africa by American firms for two decades has ended talks with the U.S. ... [read more]

Mauritius:   Mental Health Care Act to Be Reviewed to Identify Gaps (press release)
Government of Mauritius
8 October 2015

"The Mental Health Care Act will be amended with a view of better addressing mental health issues, identifying gaps and difficulties as well as preventing any form of abuse against patients suffering ... [read more]

blogAfrica is's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!

Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...