The former Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke graced a discussion about his new book MY OWN LIBERATOR at the University Of Johannesburg on Monday. The book is said to be dedicated to his mother and serves as a bible for young freedom fighters to learn from. It includes his experience as a freedom fighter in this country and his upbringing.
The conversation began with the former Justice telling a story of how he was embarrassed by cleaning the front stoep of his house as a young man; he remembered how he would look around repeatedly to see if there were any young ladies passing by that would possibly see him on his knees cleaning. With this story the former Justice was trying to illustrate how the mentality of gender inequality has been instilled within us before we were even conscious of gender politics and their effects in our daily lives. Mr Moseneke illustrated society’s influence on the current evident toxic patriarchal behavior which is constantly dominating every sphere of the social order. He described to the audience how his mother taught him to wash his underwear every time after taking a bath. According to him, his mother had had enough of taking care of four boys in the house, that he was taught a routine which involved washing his socks every day before bed so they can dry over-night and ready for the next morning. Mr Moseneke admitted that doing all these small duties made him realise that there is no such thing as a women’s work in the house or anywhere. He emphasized a point he made in his book which points the importance of our mothers in life.
The former Justice moved on to describe his time in Robben Island. He recalled the time he spent with other liberation fighters such as Herry Gwala, Jacob Zuma and Ahmed kathrada to name a few. He described how discrimination even within that context was applied, that black men and Indian men were given different clothing for instance. Mr Moseneke contended that what kept them going in prison was discipline and keeping the vision of the liberation in sight. He maintained that being a freedom fighter is a process of trying to make society better and that it is different from being a politician. Being a politician these days according to him is being what is convenient, which fulfills one person’s interests most of the time. Mr Moseneke argued that being a freedom fighter and a politician should supersede personal interest and should be about the people.
He debated that we only need politicians because in South African poor people depend on what the government does and thus there is such a strong need for politicians. “Poor people are still in need of good education systems for survival, a crime free environment and equal rights and treatment of women.” According to the former Justice it is imperative for politician to not make politics a career but a call to work for society.
He encouraged young people to become agents of change. He urged the young people to realise that combing their struggles with education will be more beneficial than having an education and abandoning their struggles.