Mamphela Ramphele, an anti-apartheid activist and co-founder of South Africa's Black Conscious Movement, has announced the formation of a new political party to take on the 101-year-old African National Congress of Nelson Mandela.
The 65-year-old medical doctor and social anthropologist told a news conference on Monday that her party will serve millions of South Africans who want a new beginning.
"Join me in building the South Africa of our dreams" she said.
She accused the governing party of undermining democracy, abusing power, and corruption.
"The dream has faded for the many living in poverty and destitution in our increasingly unequal society," Ramphele, a former World Bank managing director, said.
"And perhaps worst of all, my generation has to confess to the young people of our country: we have failed you."
- Mamphela Ramphele, an anti-apartheid activist
“And perhaps worst of all, my generation has to confess to the young people of our country: we have failed you."
Ramphele said her party, called Agang in the Sesotho language meaning "Build", will be funded by South Africans at home and abroad.
She told a news conference that her party will contest 2014 elections, campaign "from village to village" and serve millions of South Africans "who have confirmed a hunger for a new beginning".
Her party joins several in the opposition at a time when South Africa is burdened by a growing chasm between rich and poor, as well as massive unemployment.
The country has seen increasingly violent protests against job losses, utility shortages and faces education and health crisis.
She said that she was appalled to learn that 71 percent of South Africans between the ages of 15 to 38 years are unemployed.
That group, she said, makes up 60 percent of the population.
Ramphele spent seven years under house arrest enforced by the white-minority apartheid regime in the 1970s, and she used her expulsion to a remote rural area to start a health programme and empower women through initiatives like growing vegetables.
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|William A. Cook|