Entertainer and businesswoman Hulisani Ravele, formerly known as CC, sat down with us to talk about her views on South Africa’s Constitution and how it shapes her as an individual.
Hulisani Ravele is a familiar face to most South Africans given her long-standing career in television that started in 1997 when she was cast in the role of Sabrina on the SABC 1 children’s programme Pula and Friends.
Since then she graced television sets for the best part of two decades and has blossomed from an energetic and lively young television star into a driven businesswoman.
Still only 28-years-old and fuelled by a healthy ambition, Ravele has much to offer South Africa.
Ravele sat down with Brand South Africa to talk about her views on South Africa’s world-renowned Constitution and how it has helped shape her as an entertainer and a proud citizen.
Mathiba Molefe (MM): Why did you decide to be a part of the Inspired by my Constitution campaign? What is it about the campaign that resonated with you?
Hulisani Ravele (HV): For me, anything that has to do with inspiring young people or inspiring a nation to be more accepting of who we are as people within our cultures is something I want to be a part of. Anything to do with nation building, I’m Team Yes.
I feel that being called upon to be yourself is the biggest honour and the best thing you could be asked to do, and this is what Brand South Africa wanted me to do. So I share my story, share what makes me proud to be who I am, and that’s what really spoke to me.
Anything that is Brand South Africa, moving us forward in terms of a nation and all the things we have to be proud of – that’s what spoke to me.
MM: Using your platform, combined with the one provided by your involvement in this campaign, what is it you hope to achieve?
HV: I really just want to make a difference. I believe that I have been blessed with a talent to speak, so I speak on television because that is the platform that I have.
That’s the manner in which I communicate with people and the way that I can make a difference to people.
I’ve always wanted to be a conduit for change in the country and figure out how I can do that.
I can sit on a platform and have important conversations that our country needs to be having and have those conversations that allow us to reflect on who we are and where we’re at as a people in South Africa.
That is my contribution to making us better.
MM: What message would you like to send, and who do you hope to benefit the most?
HV: I’m out here for young people. I believe that once you’re able to change the way that you think and the way that you process certain things, that’s where all the power lies.
I think it’s Steve Biko who spoke about the power of the oppressor being in the mind of the oppressed. So that’s where I want to make a difference because we are the present and the future.
It lies with every single one of us as young South Africans to decide how we’re going to move South Africa forward. It’s not a political party, it’s not the president – it’s in every single one of our hands to make this country a better place for all of us to live in.
It’s not just for us, it’s for our parents because they’ve done so much for us in giving us the opportunities we have today. That’s what our parents left for us. What’s our legacy going to be?
MM: How has South Africa’s Constitution helped you get to where you are now? How has the Constitution shaped the person you have become?
HV: I think the story of the Constitution’s inception is what has had the biggest effect on me. The fact that there is a document, a book.
I actually remember in ’96 I had the booklet, the little book that said “The Constitution of South Africa” and it was written in all the languages.
Its inception was important to me because that allowed me to knock on the doors that I can knock on today.
It allows me to step out there as a young woman and say that there are opportunities out there that are for me to grab. I never would have been able to say that prior to that.
As a young black woman I can walk out there and say I can do anything and I have the right to do anything as well. I can dream as big as I want and my skin colour is not going to hold me back, my gender is not going to hold me back, nothing is going to hold me back.
MM: What would you say is the most inspiring part of our Constitution?
HV: The right to education, the right to learn. I strongly believe in education, which is why, after eight years of being out of varsity, I went back to complete my honours because I believe in furthering myself.
However, I believe that we are educated in different ways. It’s not only in the classroom or necessarily in varsity campuses, but that fact that I have the right to walk into any institution and say I want to pursue my talents in this degree.
As long as my marks allow me and I have the means to pay for it then I’m allowed to do that. So the right to education has really been an important one and one that my parents really instilled in me.
I don’t think it was about the marks, it was about teaching me to strive for excellence within my education, excellence within myself.
I will never take education and the right to be free and choose to be educated lightly.
MM: Tell us what you think about the relationship between rights and responsibilities. How do the two go together and how should we go about making the most of them?
HV: Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. You cannot have one without having the other. I think that’s what, as young people, we tend to forget.
We’re out there shouting about all our rights: “I have the right to do this and the right to do that”. But we also have the responsibility to do that in a manner that’s not destructive. You also have the responsibility to do that in a way that doesn’t harm others.
Obviously this is in direct relation to issues like #FeesMustFall where we do have the right to protest, and I do understand the anger and where it comes from but, for me, your responsibility is also to take care of the institutions you learn in.
What’s the point of destroying a science lab that is going to take millions to fix, millions that could have gone to helping the plight for cheaper or free quality education?
Looking at a scenario like that directly, you cannot have a right without understanding the responsibility that comes with it. Just as you have the right to an education, you also have the responsibility to be respectful to your educators and your fellow pupils who are in the classrooms with you.
You aren’t just there to live your own life. There’s no way, for me, that you can talk about a right without talking about the responsibility that comes with it.
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