The Year Of The Ark
Big Issue|Issue 294
Bonang Mohale, a leading businessman and Chancellor of the University of the Free State, recently delivered a speech at a masters’ and doctoral graduation ceremony, from which many South Africans can draw inspiration. This is an edited version of his speech.
Bonang Mohale

Universities were initially created to connect people. In our country, after 27 years of democracy, we have succeeded in increasing the percentage of students who attend institutions of higher learning from seven to eleven percent. By definition, it makes you (graduates) a small part of the elite and I hope that you will resist the temptation to be elitist and therefore exclusionary. For us, the biggest injustice was exclusion.

If the year 2020 was the year of the digital revolution, please join us in making 2021 become the year of the Ark – bringing people in. We need to empower universities to become inclusive centres of excellence; to be awake to still persistent inequalities and how these continue to shape a sense of belonging, ownership, identity, access, language, symbols, attitudes and expectations.

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