ANC lacks intellectual framework says Pityana

Barney Pityana, a Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) leader, stated today that the current government lacks an intellectual framework on which to move South Africa forward.

Pityana, a well-known anti-apartheid activist and human rights lawyer, gave a guest lecture at Stellenbosch University (SU) where he discussed topics like Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness philosophy.

“We need a tool to frame what it means to be South African today. The ANC government lack an intellectual frame on which it can move South Africa forward,” he said.

He added that Black Consciousness (BC) would be the ideal tool to frame current events in South Africa and help the ANC to remain in the public’s favour.

“I wish it was a tool for framing much of what we’re doing in South Africa today, the country’s humanity and our constitution.”

Pityana added that BC will definitely have a lasting effect on the country, with students being the main contributors. He said that student movements like Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall proved this.

In a 2012 Steve Biko memorial lecture, Pityana said that “young people and students will take charge of shaping their own future” by taking a critical approach to life. In this way, he said the future of the ANC depends on the youth of today.

Pityana said that BC can be seen as a philosophy and a state of mind, one that promotes social cohesion.

“The way to judge the influence of BC is less on the basis of a philosophy, whether it is part of a political ideology or not. Is it becoming a tool for discussion in understanding the South African society today? I don’t think so, but I wish it was,” he added.

“Repeatedly, we are reminded by flashpoints of xenophobic violence and persistent racism that we are a nation divided by race and that social cohesion is not just something one pronounces, but a governmental and a transformative programme to be pursued.”

He concluded by adding that the ANC is a government “that does not appear to have any sense of the crisis in its hands and that it is bound to explode at any moment”.

*Below is a short video clip from his lecture: