Laureates - Jay Naidoo

Cape Town – Ignore the “noise at the top” and rather get into action to ensure a better future for SA and especially its youth, said well-known anti-apartheid activist Jay Naidoo on Friday.

Naidoo is, amongst others, on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which promotes African development through a focus on good governance. He was the guest speaker at the monthly networking breakfast of the Ubuntu Foundation at the Atlantic Imbizo Conference & Function Studio in the V&A Waterfront.

“I get inspired by people who ‘do’. If I had to listen all the time to the noise at the top, I would have to go and sit in the Himalayas or take a pill,” joked Naidoo.

“We have so many crises in SA and in the world. It is very important not to make the same mistake more than once. We need to connect our past to the present and realize what the world is we want to leave behind for our children.”


He called SA a “laboratory of diversity”, yet, pointed out humans are 99.9% identical on a genome level.

“We should promote the idea that we as humans are all from one ancient historic route and we should think before we do things,” cautioned Naidoo.


“The future of Africa is about how we can together leverage assets – including business assets – for inclusive growth. This can be done by uniting the heart and the head and not just being materialistic, but getting the youth out of poverty instead of joining gangs or turning to crime.”

A big question for him is why protests in SA always lead to violence. He even called SA “the protest capital of the world”.

“The question now is which direction we want SA to go and what each individual has to do, as opposed to just becoming more and more negative,” said Naidoo.


“Millions of people are doing things. We must have inter-generational conversations in SA. Young people are becoming more angry with and dismissive of my generation and they have a right to be.”


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