In light of recent students protests in Universities across South Africa, Friday Stand In Adam Habib discussed issues of inter-generational communication breakdown which makes it difficult to resolve current problems.
Habib spoke to Human Rights Lawyer and former Unisa Vice Chancellor Barney Pityana as well as Sizwe-Mpofu Walsh, member of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) campaign at Oxford University.
Both Pityana and Mpofu Walsh gave their views on the current situation in universities based on their experiences in different times.
Yes we did feel that it was necessary for there to be a new direction that needed to be taken and we were critical of what had happened before— Barney Pityana, Human Rights Lawyer and former Unisa Vice Chancellor
As far as this generation is concerned, I have a large degree of sympathy for young people today who feel that we tend to fix our expectations of young people very much on our own experiences ...— Barney Pityana, Human Rights Lawyer and former Unisa Vice Chancellor
Listen to the full conversation below:
I do not agree as some of the young people today would say, that some of the people from my generation are irrelevant to the issues of today. That can't be the case.— Barney Pityana, Human Rights Lawyer and former Unisa Vice Chancellor
Pityana believes that all generations have a stake in the future of this country, and that there should be an inter-generational dialogue that is not patronising, but rather seeks to be engaging.
I don't think students should be compelled either to do as we say, or to think as we think, or to experience what we experienced. But it is important that we listen to one another.— Barney Pityana, Human Rights Lawyer and former Unisa Vice Chancellor
Sizwe-Mpofu Walsh on the other hand agrees with Pityana that there should be a dialogue. However, the dialogue should start from a place of humility.
For young students, sure they have made some mistakes. Sometimes we can transgress the limits but in my view it is really the students that needs to be listened to.— Sizwe-Mpofu Walsh, member of the RMF campaign at Oxford University
What we do need is the imagination, creativity and the boldness to imagine that young people in our society are actually pointing a way forward in a very chaotic and organic way. I think we need to be listening very carefully to their messages— Sizwe-Mpofu Walsh, member of the RMF campaign at Oxford University