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Chikane: 'We need more leaders like Mandela'

Reverend Frank Chikane says South Africa must go back to the drawing board if it is to surmount its greatest challenges.

Last updated: 14 Dec 2013 12:17
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People died for our freedom, and we can't treat it like people didn't lose their lives. If people who died would come back today and say 'Is this really what I died for?' I think they would regret ... Now those that are going away are concerned about where are we going as a country. We can't have the few enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.

Frank Chikane, former advisor for Nelson Mandela 

Frank Chikane’s links to Soweto, the town where he grew up, lie deep, as do his roots in the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the new democracy that emerged at the end of it.

A former head of the World Council of Churches he was at different times imprisoned, tortured, and issued with a series of banning orders by the white regime.

On one occasion he was allowed to leave the country, but then came close to death after being poisoned by a state-sanctioned hit team.

He was one of the founders of the United Democratic Front, an umbrella body that spearheaded the internal fight against white domination throughout the tempestuous 1980s - and then became part of the country's first democratic government as director general in the office of Nelson Mandela's deputy, Thabo Mbeki. He stayed in that post when Mbeki succeeded Mandela as president.

He played a central role in formulating the economic and social policies of the African National Congress (ANC) as it moved from resistance movement to government - but has now moved away from mainstream politics and assumed the job his father held as pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Naledi Soweto.

Reverend Chikane remains a member of the ANC - but has become the fiercest internal critic of its failures in governance - the loudest of a growing number of voices questioning the direction the liberation movement has taken and concerned about his country’s future post-Mandela.

Talk to Al Jazeera sits down with Frank Chikane to discuss his concerns about South Africa's future, and the radical changes he thinks the country needs to implement before a revolt starts.

Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830, 1930; and Monday: 1430. 

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