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Transformation: Is it a bitter pill to swallow?

- Wits Communications

The late Steve Biko once said, “When you are dead, you don’t care anyway, but your method of death can itself be a politicizing thing.”

These words of the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement resonated in the women’s gaol at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein when the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics at Wits hosted Ethics Alive.

This is an annual, week-long programme that explores ethics, law, and human rights in healthcare practice. The theme of Ethics Alive 2017 was Transformation: Is it a bitter pill to swallow?

Nkosinathi Biko, Executive Trustee of the Steve Biko Foundation was a panelist at the Ethics Alive symposium on Thursday, 16 March.

He challenged the audience to consider what his late father might have said of South Africa’s transformation 40 years on. Nkosinathi said Biko would have lamented the poverty that contributes to 3000 service delivery protests annually and the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni because of their relocation to unregistered facilities.

Steve Biko “ultimately became a doctor of the soul,” his son said.

The other panelists were Dr Freda Lewis-Hall, executive president of a global pharmaceutical firm, and Professor Dan Ncayiyana from the University of Cape Town.

Ames Dhai, Director of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, said: “We all own transformation. I don’t think we can accept any longer that transformation if for one group and not another. It includes a way of life.”