The Durban University of Technology’s Director: Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Interim Executive for Student Services, Dr David Mohale said young people need to be drivers of change that they want to see in our society, and channel their anger in strategic and purposeful interventions.
“I wish to propose what I call Sufficient Strategic Anger (SSA) that young people need to save this country from the cliff of destruction. The problem with the current anger is that it is not forward-looking. It is regressive. There is no level of anger that can justify arson; too many public libraries, schools, University buildings, public transport vehicles, etc have been burnt down,” said Dr Mohale when he delivered the annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, entitled: ‘From Biko’s Consciousness to the Crisis of Youth Conscious Unconsciousness’ yesterday, 12 September at DUT’s Hotel School, Conference Centre.
“We have to think about the impact of today’s decisions and choices on our desired future. While we recognise and celebrate the contribution of our elders, particularly in the political sphere of life, it is time we persuaded them to lead from the background,” said Dr Mohale.
“The visible sullen quiescence of young people is the cause for the crisis of this dominant consciousness. However, it is important to note that inaction is a choice; it is not an inherent impairment. For this to change, young people need to start to reimagine a future of a debt-free, economically independent and politically sovereign African states,” he added.
Dr Mohale urged universities to be mindful of their important responsibility of imparting knowledge that is relevant and addresses the current challenges faced by our society.
“History is nothing but the intentional choice between what is emphasised and de-emphasised. This contestation is the context for production of knowledge, which is subsequently used to enlighten societies. I argue that enlightenment is the primary purpose of knowledge for societal development. However, the opposite could be true. Knowledge, as we know has its own heresies and controversies. False, distorted, edited and, in the context of the job of a university, an outdated knowledge can plunge society into darkness,” explained Dr Mohale.
He also emphasised that the premise of this memorial lecture was anchored in the challenge that Steve Biko throws at us, on whether we want to die for ideas that live or live for ideas that die.
One of the panellists, Dr Kagiso Pooe – Lecturer at North-West University said the pertinent question that we need to ask is what is the purpose of our education? “My understanding is that our education should be in service to our communities. What is the point of us acquiring education but we are not using it to uplift our communities,” said Dr Pooe.
Another panellist, Duduzile Ndwandwe, who is the Director of AcuDee Projects (Pty) LTD said the current generation is suffering from identity crisis. “Identity crisis results in the unconsciousness we are witnessing today,” she said.
Ndwandwe also highlighted that even though Steve Biko is renowned for Black Consciousness, but to him it was not about skin Pigmentation. “Steve Biko was sharing a different perspective. Black consciousness is about thinking, and it is not about colour,” she added.
The panel discussion moderator, Xolani Dube, who is the Senior Researcher at Xubera Institute of Research and Development said it is essential to develop a new construct in term of intellectual thinking. “We should go out there and influence our communities because being armchair critics won’t change anything,” he said.
Steve Biko died on 12 September 1977, and this annual memorial lecture was held to keep his legacy and ideals alive. One of DUT’s main campuses in Durban is named after this gallant icon of South Africa’s liberation.
Pictured: Xolani Dube, Dr David Mohale, Duduzile Ndwandwe and Dr Kagiso Pooe.