Thuli Madonsela
Thuli Madonsela

South Africa’s uMama Integrity Thuli Madonsela believes we should be teaching integrity to our learners right from the start.

Now Chair of Social Justice at the University of Stellenbosch, Professor Madonsela was key-note speaker at a ‘dialogue’ held at the Provincial Parliament in Cape Town on 21 July this year as part of  Nelson Mandela centenary commemorations. With her was psychologist and acclaimed Integrity Expert, Charissa Bloomberg.

Our children, said Madonsela, are being born into a fractured, divided and painful world with a deficit in trust all around us. But it doesn’t have to be like that! “We must go back to teaching our young people about integrity and we who believe in integrity need to walk the talk,” she said.

Charissa Bloomberg
Charissa Bloomberg

Charissa Bloomberg set the foundation for the dialogue. “Integrity,” she said, “is the most misunderstood word. People use it all the time, but what does it mean? It’s about doing the right thing. But what is the right thing to do? Everyone has a different scale of Integrity. It is complicated and difficult to achieve. It costs us nothing but when we lose it, no matter how small that integrity lapse is, we lose everything. There is no obvious reward for having integrity. But the feel-good factor is priceless and no-one can take it away from you. And if we don’t start now, then when?”

Advocate Madonsela outlined some of the components of integrity.

  • Integrity is when you know better, you do better
  • Integrity is taking responsibility and not playing the victim
  • Integrity is steadfast in the face of adversity
  • Integrity is about fairness and justice
  • Integrity is a dimension of ethical conduct
  • Integrity is doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do
  • Integrity is transparent
  • Integrity does not keep bad company
  • Lapses in integrity are usually the result of greed, or trying to please
  • Lack of integrity may well pay in the short term but when the truth hits home, one loses more than one gains

Joining the Caring Classrooms Platform is a step towards Integrity! Enjoy!

–  Louise van der Merwe, humane education specialist

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