New generation of leaders must confront new injustices – Alex Boraine
Stellenbosch University’s (SU) new Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (FVZS) Institute for Student Leadership Development is an “extremely important initiative”, because South Africa desperately needs a new generation of brave leaders, former politician dr Alex Boraine said on Tuesday, 29 March 2011, at the launch symposium of the initiative.
He congratulated SU for its decision to honour the legacy of Dr Slabbert, who had studied and lectured at Stellenbosch, in this way. Dr Slabbert became Chancellor of the University in 2008, but had to step down for health reasons a year later. He died on 14 May 2010.
Dr Boraine was a good friend and colleague of Dr Slabbert. They made headlines when they resigned from Parliament in 1986 and started the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (Idasa, now known as the Institute for Democracy in South Africa). In 1987, they arranged ground-breaking talks between the then banned African National Congress (ANC) and a group of mainly Afrikaans speaking business people, writers, academics and students in Dakar, Senegal.
“This was an act of audacious leadership,” Dr Boraine said.
“Van Zyl was determined to lead the initiative as an Afrikaner. We were ridiculed, accused, derided and dismissed, but here was a vision of the new Afrikaner in contrast to the stereotype of the typical exponent of racism and oppression.”
The Dakar talks achieved a breakthrough and helped prepare the ground for South Africa’s negotiated settlement, Dr Boraine said, but added that dr Slabbert “soon became disillusioned”.
“At that time, we were so sick of the bankrupt and corrupt leaders of the National Party that we thought the new leadership would be different. We were swayed by Mandela and imagined that other ANC leaders would follow his example. But it was not to be. Van Zyl used the same yard stick to judge the new leadership and call them to account.
“Here he displayed his absolute consistency. He was sickened by the greed, the corruption, the trifling with the rule of law and the lack of respect for the Constitution. Van Zyl had once seen his principles trod underfoot by the NP and now he witnessed the same sorry tale unfolding. He was frustrated, he was saddened and angry.
“He is sorely missed and hopefully this new initiative will call forth a new generation of young people — black and white — who will give to South Africa the creative, human, honest and caring leadership that we need so desperately,” Dr Boraine said.
The FVZS Institute at Stellenbosch University is the first of its kind in higher education in South Africa. It offers programmes to develop and strengthen Maties’ leadership and develop their graduate attributes. School learners and students from other campuses are also involved.
The objective of the programmes is to foster ethical leadership and an understanding of students’ role as leaders in an African and global context; and to develop the youth’s leadership, communication, conceptual and decision-making skills.
The Institute forms part of SU’s HOPE Project, a campus-wide initiative through which the University is using its academic excellence and cutting-edge scientific research to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing South Africa, the rest of the continent and the world at large.
“Dr Slabbert embodied Stellenbosch University’s endeavour to produce graduates who can play a leadership role in society as responsible and critical citizens. We see all our graduates as agents of change,” SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Russel Botman, said.
“In 2008, the University where he had once been reviled and rejected by some welcomed as Chancellor. He helped make the broad transition in South Africa possible, which also had the required effect on his alma mater.
“We are sad that Van Zyl is no longer with us, but in recognition of his contribution to society, all of us – his family, friends and fans – stand united to build on his legacy.
“We aim to equip young leaders with the skills they need to help create the kind of world Van Zyl would have been proud of – an open society, free from discrimination and injustice.”
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Speeches, videos and audio files:
- Prof Russel Botman: pdf document and audio file (mp3 file)
- Dr Alex Boraine: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Mr Jan-Jan Joubert: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Mr Simphiwe Sesanti: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Ms Prem Coopoo: audio file (mp3)
- Ms Lovelyn Nwadeyi: pdf document – see “Student panel for audio file
- Prof Magda Fourie: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Dr Leslie van Rooi: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Dr Betty Siegel: audio file (mp3)
- Student panel (mp3 file)
- Prof Russel Botman: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
- Mr Rudolf Gouws: pdf document and audio file (mp3)
Further information on the FVZS Institute:
- Programmes offered by the Institute
- Webpage: www.thehopeproject.co.za/fvzs
- FVZS Institute blog
- Contact details: Tel 021 808 2312, e-pos email@example.com or