JOHANNESBURG - Helen Zille is joining the Institute of Race Relations.
She says she will use the opportunity to address some of South Africa’s biggest challenges.
The former DA leader and Western Cape Premier will work as a senior policy fellow, writer and analyst.
Zille says she wants to recapture the dream for South Africa – through her work at the Institute of Race Relations.
“I think in the last couple of years, we have gone backwards, that has something to do with the international context - revival of identity politics – which indeed was the notion on which apartheid was built – the notion that people must band together on a biological basis on their skin colour or sexuality or gender – and that goes against the notion of common nationhood with a basic value set to which we could all subscribed and to defend freedom and personal identity choice so that is a big challenge.”
Zille is no stranger to debates – specifically around race.
In the past, some of her tweets on colonialism and black privilege – received serious backlash from various groups.
“I have spent my entire life to try and build a South Africa that works for everybody, fighting apartheid, being non-racial which his seen as conservative today, but in fact that is the right way to be, to build in inclusive society where don’t see colour but quality, and all of those values I am prepared to fight for, they were once progressive they not seen as progressive, people say they miss the old Helen Zille, this is the old Helen Zille, but I am battling in a new context, to revive the values that I always held.”
While some have questioned the work of the institute in the past, Zille says she believes in the position it takes on an open, free society with a growing economy.
She believes it can be used to build a better South Africa.