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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Continuation - P O'Malley and Jane Gilman

POM     What do you think?

JG     I think I did ask him because I was asking him that the government seemed to be working for itself but not for the people, that's what I asked him. Sometimes if there are things they have done for the people, some people might not understand what it's all about. They need to have people going to the people explaining what is happening and what it is about and how does it work for the people.

POM     If you talk to your friends and say you met 'Terror' Patrick Lekota, what would you say? Would you say I was able to talk to him, I was able to ask him questions?

JG     What answers did I get?

POM     Yes. What would you say?

JG     I would tell them that I asked him the questions but they weren't clearly answered. Maybe he should have explained much more about the question I asked him because, yes, the government is delivering but it seems to be delivering for itself but not for the people as it is supposed to do for the difference to the people and the rights of the people. Yes the constitution is there but they have to be sure that it works outside, not only inside the parliament or whatever but they should be sure that it works outside to the people, so the people know all about the constitution. Sometimes there can be a constitution and then you find that someone is not aware of what is that. Sometimes you have problems and you don't know where to go and how to solve those problems and who to solve those problems for you. All those things should be explained to the people.

POM     I think that's very important. In a certain way as gifted as he is and he wasn't talking to you, he was talking at you. He was giving a speech so he wasn't addressing exactly the questions you were asking him. How do you feel? Do you feel let down?

JG     No but it feels - I feel like I picked up something from his speech, things like it's getting on with things. Maybe the way to work with the government you don't expect the government to give you something while you're sitting down, you just have to do something for yourself. That's what we have been talking about. That's what he's saying, that the government can deliver something but not the skill, you have to do it, you give yourself time to do all those things. Even an hour is something, a minute is something if you do it, you build something. A minute can give you something.

POM     That's important.

JG     Much important. To get that advice from different people, you feel like curiosity doing that. It's a good kind of thing.

POM     When you go and talk to your friends and say Terror Lekota was here and I had a conversation with him. You had a conversation with him, I only interrupted. What would you say to your friends?

JG     Oh I will tell them -

POM     Like I sat there and he sat there and we talked?

JG     Face to face, not only on TV. I was asking him questions and he was answering me although he didn't give them the way I expected him to do so but he did do something.

POM     That's very important that you say that to your friends, that I asked him questions but he didn't answer in the way I expected.

JG     I expected him to do.

POM     I will take that message back to him and say that as much as you think you're in touch with the people you're actually not.

JG     He should work for the whole country.

POM     He thinks he is. Oh yes. He was in jail for eight, nine years.

JG     For nine years?

POM     Yes. Robben Island. He was - but he wasn't giving you the answers you expected.

JG     Especially - I'm not much worried about how the government works or whatever, but what you have to do is to be closer to the people so that you get the support because if you're not closer to the people and you think you are doing the right thing, it's not good for the coming years. They are supposed to be having meetings with the people, telling them what's happening, what is this about. They don't understand, all the people sometimes are looking forward to being given houses free, this should be done for you as promised. They should explain to the people how it is, people should understand and they should know how the government works with them. All those things.

POM     Could you get, just for a start, three or four friends of yours who would come here one evening, sit down around the table and just talk?

JG     OK, yes I can.

POM     Meetings, things can't happen until they build except from the table as you and I talking to each other. So if you have friends who think that, or even friends who don't, say come along have a conversation. Because what you're saying in terms of how those who are in power relate to those who have no power is the issue. I would like to see you, if you go round and tell just three or four friends to make a start that you had a one-on-one with Patrick Lekota, the Chairman of the National Council of Provinces and the former Premier of the Free State and one of the men who led this country to freedom with his blood and through torture and that you weren't quite - you were left with certain dissatisfaction with some of his responses even though he was trying to respond in a very good way. One thing I think he implied to you is that people must, you must make yourself heard. If you don't make yourself heard then they don't know how to respond to what they're not hearing. Just get three or four and we'll just sit around the table and talk.

JG     OK, I will try and get that so that they can say whatever they think and see if what is happening is good or not.  You will see the way they think because sometimes maybe they can get good explanations, people may get good explanations because somebody might sit down and say the government says it's going to deliver something for us and sit down when you're not supposed to do that.

POM     The government is not going to do anything for anybody.

JG     No. You do for yourself and get support from the government. That is why I am speaking to you, most important people like Padraig O'Malley and Patrick Lekota.

POM     No, you talk to some of your friends and bring them and we'll get an evening here together and you can say what you thought of Patrick Lekota and the way he answered your questions and what left you not pleased or unsatisfied and when I see him in Bloemfontein I will tell him. I will say, do you know what Patrick? Your bridges in terms of your replies, the fact of the matter is that you left Jane unsatisfied in the way you gave your replies, therefore if you want to be a leader that is in touch with the people you have got to (find a different way), and most of the people where you came from even though you've been in jail, even though you've gone through all these kind of things, the fact is that Jane doesn't relate to what you're saying.

JG     Yes, yes.

POM     And if Jane doesn't relate to what you're saying it means that millions of people across this country do not relate to what you're saying, therefore find a different way.

JG     To do it. Maybe he can change things, he can change and get a lot of the people. The main thing is the people.

POM     Well you can change things.

JG     Me?

POM     Yes. You're going to get three or four friends and we'll get here one evening and we'll have supper and we'll sit around and we'll talk and you will say that you met Mr Lekota and say when you questioned him he didn't answer the questions the way I wanted. A group of us should get together and discuss the way that we can get better answers or ask better questions out of our political leaders, in other words get better responses. Unless you take responsibility you're putting yourself into a leadership role, that's what you must do, I want you to go here, because you have the capacity of leadership and if you have it you have a duty to exercise it.

JG     Yes. That can work. I am sure that can work. We can try.

POM     And we'll have one meeting before I go? I'm going on the 18th - I don't know when I'm back here.

JG     You are going for how long?

POM     Tomorrow we're going to Newcastle. I'll be here Saturday and Sunday, so just one of those evenings perhaps, whatever. We'll get pizzas or whatever. But find some people and just say come over and I want you to hear about when I talked to Mr Lekota, what he said to me and what I thought of it. And then I will take the message that you give when I see him in Bloemfontein or wherever it is, I will say, you know what? You are very good, however you didn't answer the questions. So instead of leaving somebody very satisfied and geared up you didn't so you've got problems. She talked to three or four other people and they all agreed. Patrick, take them back and listen to them and then give your answers in so many words. And I will give him that message.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.