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Golden oldies’ sun must set says rising new party leader, SA physician Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele

“Wake-up Call”
Editing, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett

Renowned academic and anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches new party, political platform “Agang” ─ meaning “build” ─ to stand in South Africa’s 2014 elections and unseat the “corrupt.”

The devaluation of the African National Congress’s moral leadership is clearly evident throughout the country, reads an article this week at South Africa’s News 24. Their traditional power base’s “crippling apathy” in making their mark and making their voices heard during every election “further deepens the hole in which we are being dragged down,” the article said.

Ramphele entry into the fray a wake-up call

“Credentials are everything,” News 24 said, “[and] Mamphela Ramphele has them. The ANC had them.

“Ramphele is a former activist in the mold of the Black Consciousness Movement. She is highly educated and has taught at one of South Africa’s premier universities. She has led the World Bank, chaired one of the largest boards of mines in the country; all no easy tasks. Compare this to the majority of ministers and leaders in government circles,” News 24 says. “The comparison is deafening and other parties would be short-sighted not to see Ramphele as a genuine threat to their votes ─ ANC very much included.

“This is a new era and it is time for liberation heroes to step aside. Their contributions were invaluable to the democracy in South Africa but the ones clinging on in power now are unraveling all that hard work.”

Though the road for her newly established Agang Party SA and its platform is bound to be rocky, Mamphela Ramphele’s entry into the sphere of politics “can be seen as a breath of fresh air,” News 24 said. She is “a worthy player.”

Today’s Deutsche Welle article on this story reports, “The renowned author, economist and business woman commands a lot of respect from academics and civil society across the country.”

Hers has been a “long walk to politics,” DW writes. “Born in 1947 at the Bochum District of the Limpopo Province in the northern part of South Africa, in her early years active in the student movements that fought the oppressive Apartheid regime, Mamphela Ramphele is one of the few South African women who have had a major impact on South African public life.”

Profile in brief

Physician, academic and businesswoman, Mamphela Aletta Ramphele is a South African who was an activist against apartheid. Dr. Ramphele was also a managing director at the World Bank and a vice chancellor at the University of Cape Town. This month, Mamphela Aletta Ramphele announced the formation of a new political party, Agang (in Sotho, it means ‘Build’). The new party will challenge South Africa’s African National Congress or ANC.

Ramphele completed her medical credentials in the early 1970s at University of the North and Natal Medical School (now the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Medical School). And though the apartheid government banished her to the town of Tzaneen (1977-1984) and put her under constant security police surveillance, she worked continually with the rural poor, formed the Isutheng Community Health Program, and set about empowering women.

She did medical internships at Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital and Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth. In the 1980s, she worked with the South African Students Association (SASO) and held research positions at University of Cape Town (UCT) and worked with Professor of Economics Francis Wilson at the South African Development Research Unit (SALDRU) and Livingstone Hospital.

Continuing her academic studies, Ramphele took her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Administration at the University of South Africa as well as diplomas in Tropical Health and Hygiene and Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand. In the 1990s, Ramphele was deputy vice chancellor at the University of Cape Town and a visiting scholar at the U.S.-based Kennedy School of Government. She has authored and edited several books. Among them:

Laying Ghosts to Rest: Dilemmas of the transformation in South Africa (2008)
Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South African Woman Leader (1996)
Mamphela Ramphele - A Life (autobiography 1995)
A Bed called Home (1993) based on Ramphele’s Ph.D. thesis The Politics of Space dealing with life in the migrant labor hostels of Cape Town (Social Anthropology)
Restoring the Land (ed., 1992) dealing with ecological challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa.
Bounds of Possibility: The Legacy of Steve Biko (co-ed., 1991)
Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge (co-author, 1989, received the 1990 Noma Award, an annual prize given to African writers and scholars whose work is published in Africa) drawing together research conducted by the second Carnegie inquiry into poverty and development in South Africa.

Beyond the entrenched and corrupt

Ramphele has reportedly labeled South Africa’s current rulers “unaccountable” and “corrupt.” Though there were glimpses of “a liberation movement transforming itself into a democratic governing party … during the (Nelson) Mandela administration,” she says, “the rest of the ANC …, from the very beginning, was more about taking control and … stepping into the shoes of the former colonizer.”

The approach of her developing party, she says, is based on a “consultative process”: an approach that goes “from village to village, township to township, young people, old people, rich people, poor people ─ because the country belongs to all of us.”

Medical doctor turned business woman, renowned academic and anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele proposes a fully fledged political party based on “intensive consultation with South Africans across the divide.” Her party and political platform Agang (translated “build”) plans to stand in her country’s 2014 elections.

Mamphela Ramphele argues,“the golden oldies must go into the sunset.”

Sources and notes

“Ramphele aims to capitalize on social media,” February 18, 2013, http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Ramphele-aims-to-capitalise-o...

“Mamphela Ramphele - a worthy player in SA politics.” February 19, 2013, http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Mamphela-Ramphele-a-worthy-player-in-SA-p...

“Agang funded locally, says Ramphele,” February 19, 2013, http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Agang-funded-locally-says-Ram...

“South Africa’s new party set to challenge ANC,” February 19, 2013, Deutsche Welle, http://www.dw.de/south-africas-new-party-set-to-challenge-anc/a-16608322

“South African businesswoman set to threaten ANC’s dominance” (by JOHANNES MYBURGH), Wednesday, January 30, 2013, http://www.africareview.com/News/S-African-businesswoman-set-to-threaten...

Wikipedia note
Mamphela Aletta Ramphele, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamphela_Ramphele

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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Posted by Bennett's Study at 2:42 PM
Labels: African National Congress, Agang, ANC, Mamphela Aletta Ramphele, new era in South Africa, politics South Africa, South Africa past and present, women leaders worldwide

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