Presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has backed calls for radical economic transformation‚ saying it should start in the classroom.
Speaking at a free education dialogue at the Durban University of Technology on Thursday evening‚ where she addressed students and ANC Youth League members‚ Dlamini-Zuma stressed: “Let’s transform this economy‚ it is ours.”
Dlamini-Zuma shared the stage with ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza and KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL chair Kwazi Mshengu. She said economic transformation should start with radical changes at the tertiary level.
“If professors are white and your ambition is to have a PhD in chemistry‚ as an African woman trying to study‚ you begin to think perhaps you’re in a wrong class‚” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma said the country needs to transform because children need role models.
“Because if our kids don’t see role models they will have no inspiration and won’t aspire to get there. So transformation cannot only mean just admitting black students.
“It must also mean the university structure. The professors must also reflect the demographics of this country‚” she said‚ to rapturous applause.
She said the demographics of this country must be seen everywhere.
“The education must be of quality‚ but also must teach young people to be patriotic. It must teach young people to be responsible citizens. Do we get that in our schools? Do they teach us about being patriotic? So we need education that produces a young‚ rounded‚ responsible citizen who is patriotic about South Africa‚ because we are Africans and proud to be Africans.
“We do not need education that makes us inferior. No‚ that was apartheid education. Do you even know that when I was a medical student here at the University of Natal we were not even allowed to stay at the varsity residences? We were not even allowed to wear the university blazer‚” she said.
While pushing for free education – a theme around which students have mobilised over the past two years in often violent protests – Dlamini-Zuma stressed the importance of discipline‚ saying it was unacceptable to burn down libraries and other facilities.
“Education will take us out of poverty. Let us transform this economy‚” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma said the apartheid machinery used education to suppress black people and black people now had a chance to use it to liberate themselves.
“Education is the biggest equaliser‚” she said.