At the time of writing, the month-long crisis on our university campuses remains unresolved. The next few days will probably be critical in determining whether the universities concerned will reopen in time to allow students to complete the academic year. As hardly needs be stressed, this is a critical issue for our country. For our country to succeed, it is abundantly clear that all South Africans need access to higher education. For our own part, we strongly encourage dialogue between government, the universities and student representatives aimed at achieving an solution that takes into account the requirements and concerns of all stakeholders. Every effort must be made to reduce as much as possible the gaps between the various parties and to find a balance between what people want to see and what is practically achievable, in both the short and long term. These are troubled times, but we I feel there is sufficient resilience and goodwill to find a constructive way forward.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies pays tribute to Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, and extends its condolences to the Sobukwe family on her passing. Mrs Sobukwe will always have an honoured place in South African history for her loyal, steadfast support for her legendary husband, the great Pan-Africanist leader Robert Sobukwe, during the struggle against apartheid.
On Mandela Day last week, sandwiches were made and handed out, blankets knitted and distributed and speeches given by impressive and inspiring world leaders. It is fitting then, that, on that auspicious day, I experienced what I believe was a profound ‘Mandela moment’, one that exemplified the Madiba values and spirit.
As we prepare to celebrate Women’s Day tomorrow, the SAJBD urges all South Africans to do more to combat the scourge of violence against women in our society. There is a critical need for greater awareness, education and the enforcement of the law around gender-based violence, as well as discrimination in the workplace and in other spheres of daily life. Our young girls should also be empowered through education, skills and development.