Solutions to the land expropriation without compensation challenge in South Africa must ensure enduring peace, stability and shared prosperity, says UKZN Chancellor Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Delivering the 14th Annual Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture on UKZN’s Westville campus, the Chief Justice continued:‘War is not an option. Strategies that militate against peace and stability are not an option. But silence and inaction in the face of life threatening and dehumanising migration, abject poverty and landlessness are also not options.’

Mogoeng quoted Chief Albert Luthuli in saying: ‘You will agree that the masses of the African people live in abject poverty in both rural and urban areas while so many Africans find themselves landless and homeless.’

He said that as Chief Albert Luthuli would have done ‘African people should pursue meaningful, purposeful and truly intentional dialogue with those who own land and the sworn defenders of the status quo. Internal and global campaigns must be waged concertedly and tirelessly until normality is restored.’

Mogoeng reflected on discussions he has had with White South Africans on challenges confronting the country, including the land issue, racism and exclusion from meaningful participation in the economy.

‘Initially there was resistance but as soon as you demonstrate convincingly that as a matter of fact it is for the common good of all of us that we vigorously pursue and enjoy peace and stability founded on the truth in order to resolve the land, economic and race issues, people begin to sober up and warm to the possibility of jointly pursuing and finding a solution,’ he said.

‘Don’t mislead one another. I am open to my White compatriots because I love them genuinely whether they believe it or not. But I am not going to say to them there is no racism in South Africa. There is. Otherwise those previously excluded from the mainstream economy would after 24 years be captains of industries in their numbers.’

The Chief Justice said that servant leadership, and not that driven by greed, was needed to lead countries across the African continent.

‘Smooth or polished modern-day dictators who pretend to care about the plight of the people when it is really themselves, their hidden masters, funders or handlers that they seek to serve, must be seen through and rejected,’ he cautioned.

‘We dare not assume that we are free as African people throughout the continent because we can elect into office those whom we prefer. Because strictly speaking, you’d rather have an abundance of food and land and the necessary technical know-how about working the land to be wealthy, to be productive and help the less privileged than simply have the right to vote,’ Mogoeng said to thunderous applause.

Also speaking at the event, Luthuli’s eldest daughter, Dr Albertina Luthuli, recalled fondly the close relationship her mother, Nokukhanya, and father shared. ‘Here was a couple where the union was made in heaven,’ said Luthuli. ‘At the heart of a healthy nation, there has got to be healthy families.

‘My father was a leader of the people. He was a leader who looked beyond himself. He was a leader who faced the hardships of the times, and he leaned very much on his faith,’ said Luthuli, a former medical doctor and Member of Parliament.

Director General of the National Department of Arts and Culture Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize addressed the audience saying the memorial lecture was about celebrating the life of one of South Africa’s icons. ‘It offers an opportunity for all of us to rekindle and reignite our commitment to fight and stand for what they (South Africa’s icons) believed in and died for. And that is a better South Africa founded on the constitutional values of conscientious leadership; human rights; integrity; equity; freedom and human dignity.’

Also speaking at the lecture, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Albert Modi said: ‘Chief Luthuli left footprints not only in South Africa and Africa, but throughout the world.’ Modi represented Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku, at the Lecture.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRPyR_obJyo&feature=share to view the lecture.

The lecture is hosted annually by UKZN, the Department of Arts and Culture and the Luthuli Museum.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Rajesh Jantilal