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Press Release - St Augustine College in Victory Park

St Augustine College in Victory Park – 4th February 2013. 

Mr Bobby Godsell, Chairman of the Board of Directors, addressed students at the beginning of the 2013 Academic Year.  He began by asking them what sort of country they wanted.  They live in a new world, a new continent, a new South Africa and a new epoch, which means a different set of rules.  This is a new period of history.

The current system began in the 17th Century when technology moved from the East to the West.  Explorers advanced around the world.  This required new maps and led to sea power, empire, trade, a renaissance in Europe and a rediscovery of ideas from the Greek and Roman times.  The West was also influenced by Islam.

The Industrial Revolution followed, which led to England becoming important in world developments.  For the next 100 years the rest of the world was influenced significantly by what happened in England.   This system is coming to an end with the rise of India and China.  The West is ageing.  Because of the inability of the political systems in Europe and the United States to bring about the necessary change, power is shifting to the East.

There are a number of powerful groupings in the world from the G8, which expanded to the G20, and also the rise of importance of the BRICS countries.  South Africa now has to decide where it fits into the picture.  Africa is coming of age.  Colonialism has largely become a thing of the past, but the last 50 years have not been very good for the continent of Africa.  An example of this is the inability of Ecowas to move troops speedily and with sufficient manpower to assist in Mali.

Africa as a continent has had a better growth rate in GDP in the past 15 years than any other continent.  In addition remittances sent home from Africans working abroad exceeds Foreign Development Aid.  This is a good thing as the money is then effectively spent.  There is also a gradual return to their countries of birth of Africans working abroad.  This brings added skills to the continent. 

South Africa is part of the continent of Africa.  There is a second transition taking place. This is from the past of apartheid.  The country now needs to decide where it needs to be.  Reference should be made to the National Development Plan produced by 26 commissioners, of which 25 were part-time.  The executive summary of this NDP is published on the internet and available for all to see.  Many of the actions to be completed by 2030 can be implemented and should result in unemployment being reduced to 6% of the population.    Economic growth needs to increase by 2% above the increase in population annually.  It is looking at a growth of 4 to 5% annually which is possible.

Godsell then asked the question – “What do we need to make South Africa Successful?”  The answers are

  1. Competent people who have the tools to be useful.  They need skills which they are able to sell to industry, manufacturing and the arts.
  2. Confidence.  Our citizens need the confidence to project that they are successful people and have not become victims of life.
  3. Responsibility.  One of the reasons for the demise of the West is the hyper-individualism which is prevalent with the “I” mentality rather than the “we”.

Maggie Thatcher maintained that “society does not exist”.  This is clearly not so.  We live with other people.  There are different ways of supporting each other.  There is a co-responsibility for ourselves and our families, our communities.  The government only provides 15% of its citizens’ needs.  We as citizens have to make it happen.  The collective values of the nation will determine the future of South Africa. 

Godsell read with a quote from Robert Kennedy’s book “To  Seek a Newer World”

Mr Godsell ended his talk by informing students that St Augustine would be a source not only of learning but would develop their abilities to contribute to the world in an effective way.  It was up to them to make the most of the teaching and opportunities which were being offered by the university.

St Augustine - 06 February 2013