At the annual Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture that took place earlier today, we had the honour of welcoming Lord Peter Hain as our 2023 guest speaker.

This lecture takes place each year to celebrate the life of Dr Neil Aggett and is held to honour his legacy. In a world where there are so many social injustices that take place every day, it is important that we continue to celebrate the life of Neil Aggett as he advocated for those who found themselves at the receiving end of social injustices.

At the lecture, the former UK Cabinet Minister and anti-apartheid campaigner, Lord Hain urged citizens to ‘Rise up and demand change’ like many did to defeat apartheid and stop the country from becoming a ‘failed state’.

Lord Hain will spend today and tomorrow at Kingswood College engaging in various events with our pupils and staff.

A recurring theme at this annual lecture is the appeal made by our speakers to urge our audience and indeed the broader community and country at large, to bring about the changes themselves, which are so needed in our country.

As Lord Hain stated in his lecture today:

“You won’t change this country unless you do it yourselves. You – the people of South Africa – have once again to rise up and resist as civil society, firmly standing together to say ‘enough is enough’. To reclaim the democracy and the ideals of the freedom struggle.”

“Every one of you can do your bit.”

It was also at this lecture this morning that Ms Mamakomoreng Nkhasi-Lesaoana from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) launched a video to honour the memory of the late Neil Aggett.

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 the Apartheid regime 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. Last year, his death as a ‘suicide’ was overruled by the Johannesburg High Court.

We look forward to the rest of Lord Hain’s visit to Kingswood and we leave our Kingswood community with the following:

“I urge you to rise up and reclaim the noble mission of Mandela, of Tambo and Sobukwe, of Sisulu and Kathrada, of Biko and Slovo, of Hani and Kasrils. Stand on the shoulders of these giants – and you can do it.”

– Lord Peter Hain