BEN OKRI: WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR FREEDOM?

Literary Nigerian treasure, Ben Okri, has called on South Africans to find innovative ways to heal the wounds. At his speech (click to hear podcast) at the Steve Biko memorial lecture event last year, he said that for most of his life it seemed unthinkable that Apartheid would ever end. “It seemed like an unalterable fact, like fate, or the moon, or hunger.” He described apartheid as a long, nightmare-laden sleep, and the democratic era as a new day.

“With awakening, a new question is posed. The nightmare is over, but what do we do with the day?” People go about healing in different ways, he said. For some, healing is “probing the wounds, seeking causes and redress”. For others, “healing is dreaming…a chance to transform themselves out of all that trauma”.

And in that process, the youth are a vital ingredient to be tomorrow’s leaders who are looking forward.

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