Kingswood College welcomed Nene Molefi, as the speaker at the 14th annual Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture on Thursday 12 March 2020. The annual event celebrates the life of Dr Neil Aggett and honours his legacy. With the re-opening of the inquiry into his death, the celebration of his life is now more pertinent than ever.
Molefi is the CEO of Mandate Molefi HR Consultants. Over the past 18 years she has gained a reputation, both locally and internationally, as a thought leader in Diversity and Inclusion, Values-Driven Leadership and Transformation. She is a regular presenter at conferences around the world and is an expert panellist for a Diversity and Inclusion Benchmark Tool. She is also a member of the Diversity Collegium which is a think- tank of globally recognised diversity experts.
In her presentation, Standing up against Injustice, Molefi delivered a thought-provoking address on diversity and inclusion and spoke about becoming change agents. Although Aggett would have been considered as coming from a position of privilege, he had used this in service to others.
Aggett attended Kingswood College from 1964-1970. He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Cape Town and went on to work in a hospital in the Transkei and later at Baragwanath Hospital. He was deeply concerned with the hardships endured by black South Africans under apartheid and left his medical career to become involved in the black trade union movement. In late 1981 he was detained for “interrogation” by the Security Police and was found hanging in his cell at John Vorster Square in February 1982. The prestigious Neil Aggett Award was founded by members of his Class of 1970 to foster a spirit of individual service above self in young men and women of Kingswood College. It pays tribute to the recipient’s true commitment to a wider social responsibility within the College, as well as to the greater community of Makhanda and South Africa.
The recipient of this year’s award was Nkokoto (Tsepo) Ponoane, 2020 Headboy at Kingswood College. Tsepo had throughout his journey at Kingswood demonstrated empathy and understanding of what it means to put service above self, his citation noted.
This year, a special award was also made posthumously to Uyinene Mrwetyana (Old Kingswoodian 2018) who was tragically killed in 2019.
Molefi concluded her talk by calling on the youth to take on the responsibility of becoming leaders of social change and stated that all of us can make a difference and that we have the potential to stimulate courageous conversations.