Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Speaker Notes Of The Mec For Sport , Arts And Culture Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba At The Occasion Of The Inaugural Lecture Of Professor Robert Sobukwe At The Sol Plaatje University On The 27 February 2018

Programme Director :  Mr. Sabata Mokae / Councillor Mpho Moshwe
Executive Mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality – Alderman Mangaliso Matika
Councillors from the Sol Plaatje Municipality
Professor Tshepo Lephakga
Professor Patrick Fitzgerald
Professor Jesmael Mataga
Head of Department Ms Ruth Palm
Friends and Compatriots ,
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Evening , Goeienaand , Dumelang , Molweni


Ladies and gentlemen, we meet here to celebrate the life and legacy of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe where we are reminded of how far we have come and indeed how many people, individually and collectively, paved the way for our freedom.

We should be grateful to them that we are among those who made it to the victory line. We are privileged to be among those who inherited the title deed of freedom.

Twenty four years ago, it was the culmination of three hundred years of struggle that brought us to that point in our history where we could say definitively that we had seized the moment and entered a new space and a new time.

We had embarked upon a new road to the building of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

We accepted the responsibility our people tasked us with to lead, to create the conditions whereby together we would reach the country of our dreams.
We stood in for all others who had fallen in the struggle.

Today the 27 February 2018, we commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the death of one of those giants who showed rare admirable patience and endurance in the fight against colonialism and aparthied:

The apartheid government has tried to let him perish in detention, but they failed ,he was endured to unjust trials and long years in prison, he took to the streets in defiance of unjust laws and never knew if he would see his wife and children and if he would ever go home., but because he believed that the only way to be freed from the shackles of colonialism and apartheid he stood up against the oppressors of the day and selflessly donated to the cause of freedom we are enjoying today.

We must therefore say thanks to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe who was such a hero who fought for us to be walking the road of freedom. His contribution and ideas should shine brightly upon us and we should be the pioneers of ensuring that what he fought for is not in vain.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is often said that people are immortalised by death, what an irony , because death itself should be the ultimate proof that we are all fallible. For this reason when we do speak of the departed , we do so with seriousness that is supreme compared to when they are still alive

Professor Robert Sobukwe was born in the struggle, and was baptized in the revolutionary flames of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), African National Congress (ANC) and was a founder member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) with all of them still blazing the rage to this day in promotion of global peace, non-racialism, non-sexism, human dignity and prosperity for all.

He was a son of the soil counted among the revolutionary thinkers and leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle for the liberation of the African people and the world.  He will remain a revolutionary African Democrat, an Internationalist and a global icon for freedom, rule of law, peace, justice and respect for fundamental rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Robert Sobukwe, became a son of the Northern Cape in 1969 when he was banished in Kimberley and restricted to the confines of Galeshewe. It was here where he started to practice as a lawyer with his office at the Mayibuye Precinct opposite the Abantu Hall and the Galeshewe Police Station. Many of his clients who were arrested for defying apartheid and the oppressors of the white minority regime were detained at the Galeshewe Police Station, thus making it easy for him to have consultations with them there.

Earlier today we visited both his home in Naledi Street and his office. It is with great disappointment that I must inform you that as the Province of the Northern Cape we have failed the legacy of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. We have realized this and henceforth we are in an advanced stage of rectifying our failure to honour him. With the Robert Sobukwe Foundation and the Sol Plaatje Municipality will be revamping the office of Robert Sobukwe and we envisage that it will become a historical tourist sight and part of the Liberation Route in Galeshewe.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Twenty four years into democracy, and the Northern Cape continues to suffer from historically-induced social and linguistic inequalities where we are still commemorating street names and symbols of people who founded colonialism and apartheid. It is of great concern that we are moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to geographical name changes at both provincial and local government level in the province. It is process which needs to be expedited as a matter of urgency. But is also a process that must be expedited within the legal framework of geographical name changes.

We must realize that name changes are important for us as South Africans to reclaim our heritage and cultural identity , as well as honouring our heroes and heroines who fought the liberation of this country which we are all enjoying today. =.

As South Africans we must be reminded of the fact that geographical name changes are a form of symbolic compensation for human rights abuse.

In a fractured society changing names can also be considered as a mechanism of transitional justice. As a form of symbolic reparation street names can assist in restoring dignity and public recognition to victims.

It is also strange that as South Africans we are forgetting that, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended the renaming of geographical features as a form of symbolic reparations to address South Africa’s unjust past

The Geographical Names Act of 1998 is not only a law of this country but an essential part of transformation. It is a legislative process intended to redress historical imbalances and thus contribute towards eradicating a history filled with oppression and forge, instead, a national identity to which all South Africans can ascribe.

Change is inevitable and if we want to grow as both individuals and as a nation, we must accept that we need to change
It is against this background that as part of honoring the legacy of Robert Sobukwe as the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape we envisage to rename a Government owned building after this iconic leader and giant of the apartheid struggle.

However as a transparent government will ensure that all consultations with the relevant stakeholders are done, approvals are received and legislative requirements are met to ensure that the name change to a government owned building is a smooth transition It is work in progress and like mentioned once all processes have been followed and finalized the announcement will be made.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to introduce to you our distinguished guest speaker, Professor Tsepho Lephakga from the University of South Africa who will be delivering the Memorial Lecture on Robert Sobukwe I was told that it will be a very informative and interactive lecture where you the audience will be captivated by the eloquence of Professor Lephakga. He is currently a Senior Lecturer for Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology at UNISA.

Professor Lephakga welcome to Sol Plaatje University, the stage and audience is yours to enlighten us on the life and times of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe.

I thank you,

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