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Ruth First Lecture 2014

April 25, 2014

 Monday 28 April 2014 at 6.00 pm

Room 140, Elvet Riverside 1

Durham University

New Elvet, Durham DH1 3JT

Professor Ahmed Bawa

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Durban University of Technology

We were wrong: the struggle was not a prophet of our future

Some very substantial advances have been made in the 20 years since the first democratic elections in South Africa, driven partly by the rich texture of the reconciliation imperatives of the Mandela presidency and partly on the wings of the euphoria of the unfolding of the nascent democracy. And while there has been modest economic growth and the delivery of services to larger and larger sections of the population, the widening of the wealth gap between rich and poor gallops along at a furious pace. This has resulted in increasing tensions between communities and the state as demonstrated in the ongoing service delivery actions which have often turned violent. Deep disquiet over crime and corruption is prevalent all over. Where are we heading? And can we recreate the dynamism, truth and selflessness that so characterised our struggle for freedom and democracy as a basis on which to build a democratic, egalitarian South Africa?

Ahmed Bawa took a PhD in Theoretical Physics at Durham in 1986-89. He played a leading role in the reform and renewal of higher education in South Africa in the post-apartheid era. He has taught at the University of Durban-Westville and City University of New York, has been Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Universities of Natal and KwaZulu-Natal, and from 2002 to 2004 worked for the Ford Foundation, running a strategic grants programme designed to facilitate the development of universities and university systems in Africa.

Admission free, everyone welcome