Professor Thuli Madonsela ropes in UFH on “M-PLAN” for South Africa

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The University of Fort Hare (UFH) has been selected by Professor Thuli Madonsela to form part of her “M-Plan” that seeks to address the shadows of the country’s unjust past. The former public protector, currently serves as the Law Faculty Trust Chair for Social Justice and Law Professor at the Stellenbosch University. She announced this while speaking at an open lecture at the university’s East London campus last week where she presented her lecture titled, Transformative Constitution Education and the complex shadow of our unjust past. The Lecture hosted by the Faculty of Law drew a sizable student contingent who listened attentively to Professor Madonsela.

“As the chair of the Social Justice Trust we are coordinating a social justice project and we want Fort Hare, Wits University and the University of Free State to form part of that coordinating process.”

Professor Madonsela said the M-plan was a: “multipronged strategy that was not a one-size-fits-all because people don’t come in one size, that aims to place social justice and equality at the centre of fixing SA’s multiple concurrent crises.”

She said the M-Plan was inspired by the Marshall Plan that served to reconstruct Europe after the Second World War.

“But this time, M is for (Palesa) Mosa, a woman who was arrested as a youth in 1976 and has lived through all our tumultuous times,” she said

The M-Plan aims to mobilise evidence and data, boost civil society and mobilise resources behind a shared quest for social justice. 

Dr Lubisi said: “We are happy that, despite her busy schedule Prof Madonsela prioritized the university and travelled all the way from Cape Town to deliver this address. In 2013, the university honoured the Prof Madonsela with a Doctors of Laws honorary Doctorate Degree, she is an alma mater now”

In her lecture, the professor addresses some of the burning issues faced in the country’s education sector, which she said were the result of the country’s unjust past.

“The shadow of our past is very long and complex. We could not have dealt with 350 years of colonialism in 25 years. Educations in this country was good, education at Fort Hare was good, it produced intellectual giants such as Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela, until a deliberate decision was taken to under-resource Fort Hare,” said Madonsela.

Some of the challenges the Professor highlighted included, financial exclusion of students and historical debt. She made an example of a University of Pretoria student named Jackson, who was forced to sleep inside the university's bathroom after he was financially excluded.

Madonsela said the shadows of the past still existed, because the country’s policies failed to address them.

“We need to ask ourselves why we still have cases of fees must fall and students sleeping in bathrooms. We need to formulate policies that will address these shadows,” she said.