Lead SALead SA

"The planet will recover from our stupidity" - Jay Naidoo

Written by: Marisa Oosthuizen

Social activist, Jay Naidoo called on the older generation to hand the baton over to the younger generation to advance the revolution. He was speaking at the third annual Lead SA Changemakers Conference in Johannesburg.

Naidoo was the founding General-Secretary of Cosatu and served as a minister in Nelson Mandela's cabinet. His own experience as a worker in a textile factory when he was a young man, equipped him with unique insight into the hardships of labour in the country and the necessity to fight for their rights to be upheld.

He is currently a trustee for the Earthrise Trust, an organisation aimed at building sustainable and peaceful societies that promote environmental awareness and protection for the benefit of future generations.

For his accomplishments he has gained many honors, including becoming the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) - one of France’s highest decorations - and received the ‘Drivers for Change Award’ from the Southern African Trust and Mail & Guardian newspaper.

"There comes a time where my generation needs to hand over the baton."

Jay Naidoo

"We are stewards of our land."

Jay Naidoo

"Mother Earth gives us everything we need, we need to live in balance with her."

Jay Naidoo

"The youth is the engineer of change."

Jay Naidoo

Naidoo reflected on the concept of wealth, saying it is not only measured in money, but also social justice and well-being. He regards it as a responsibility to share what you have with others.

"Is wealth social justice? I am because we are."

Jay Naidoo

"The biggest problem we have is that we don't learn to listen."

Jay Naidoo

"Our people are not victims, in spite of their poverty, they raise families, they have courage and honour."

Jay Naidoo

Naidoo has advice for young people, urging them not to look up to find leaders, but down where the real leadership lies in ordinary, hardworking and honest South Africans. They are doing the real work on the ground and creating the reconciliation needed to build their communities.

"Don't look up, because what do you see? Scandal after scandal, because those sitting at the top has lost the idea of why we elect leaders."

Jay Naidoo

"Real reconciliation is about unity. Building bridges through action."

Jay Naidoo

"What is the second liberation struggle? It is to bring along the millions in our country still left behind."

Jay Naidoo

Naidoo reminded the audience of the importance of respecting women and putting them at the centre of our social revolution. He says that when a woman are strong, people will say that "she is acting like a man... that she is 'bitchy'...this is bullshit (sic)."

"Women are critical in leading the second liberation movement of South Africa... Our species are dead without women!"

Jay Naidoo

"Women are not demanding a seat at the table, they want their own table."

Jay Naidoo

"The planet will recover from our stupidity - the human species won't. We lack true understanding of why we exist."

Jay Naidoo

"As changemakers, I'm asking you to change your ways. Redesign the world that pulls us back from destruction."

Watch Jay's presentation at Changemakers...

Join the #Changemakers17 conversation on Twitter.




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