Education: A privilege and not a basic right

South Africa is now a democracy for almost three decades. One would think that education would be on the list of key transformational priorities. Not so…we continue to quitely perpetuate an Apartheid government agenda to date. Let me take you through some of the facts: For a start; we continue to not only Harbour but protect the most unequal education system in the world. How so, you ask? Schools in the townsgips and rural areas are falling apart…the level of learning is so degraded by issues of violence, dysfunctional services such as lack of water or electricity and working ablution facilities. The morale is so low and not condu ive to learning. Parents who can, as a reult; try to take their kids to better schools in town. Tgat where the inequality starts to become apparent as the battle to find a school gets dragged through language barriers and worse, if the child gets accepted. All good schools are in white areas and preserve their existence through either Afrikaans-only policies or exorbitant fees beyond regular black folks pocket reach…Nothing has changed for the black child in the education system since apartheid except on paper and in political terms. We continue to see less than 30% of black children making it to matric every 12 yeat cycle. Where is, and what happens to the lost 70%? The likelihood is that they are welfare and social cases immersed in drug abuse and criminality. They are the criminal elements lurking between the blurred lines of a rainbow nation. They remain terminally poor with little to no prospects as they are effectively unemployable due to their poor educational achievements. Most off all, they are the huge crime rate and statistics we experience or hear on the news daily. They are the criminal court backlog with literally no space in our prison facilities that is already buckling under pressure. They are the burden the police system is crumbling underneath even as they are accused of incompetence. If only we, as society cared beyond narrowly safe confines of racial, party and stereotypical lines…if only we truly cared about this country. If only we cared about the people, the future. We fail annually to educate them equally and with the same goal in mind, now they terrorize our high walled security estates in search of survival. I say it is an inevitable outcome that is not surprising at all, they come from a system we choose to leave as is even as we see it is terminally ailing. We would be better off working together to transform our social ills as opposed to pointing stinky figures all round. It is most unjust, unfair and completely unacceptable that formerly Afrikaans (white) schools have failed to transform and become more inclusive over three decades. It is even more unbelievable that government overlooks this issue. For black people who live in these areas, it is a travesty of justice that they have to take their children to schools miles away when the one next door is available and hiding behind a language policy. What about the right of this children to education that is not not miles away or exorbitantly priced in nearby private schools? Should we continue to accept that due to a language policy created by the apartheid government we remain oppressed and denied of a right to education? “. No self-identity of any group is worth its salt if it seeks to uncompromisingly set itself up against the rights of other identities. As a country, we have multiple identities that are viewed as one globally. South African culture is the sum total of all its diverse sub-cultures. To that end, the common identity must always prevail above its sub-segments, which are merely part of a collective. It is disgusting to elevate any one of them at the expense of basic human rights, especially in key focus areas like education. History will never forgive us all for failure to correct an obvious injustice to human rights. With a black ANC government in power, I fail to see why nothing has been done in the last 28 years to change this dynamic so that black children’s access to schools is not a struggle. We require equality and a playground that addresses past injustices in a meaningful and socially progressive manner. We have done way too little in the time we had in power. The ANC (ruling party) politicians have only plundered all state coffers that they can and did little else to benefit the average South African. Most if not all black governments have done the same, which is the most pitiful state of affairs. A deplorable and dispecable failure of leadership that must be denounced. 80% of black school children go to school hungry and the free meal they get fed is their only one for the day. They go to school barefoot and without adequate uniform or study material. They wake up from a place where abuse and neglect is fresh on their minds…not because blacks are beastly but because South Africans who can help have opted to do nothing. Politicians are too busy watching the cash kitty. Whites are busy finding reasons to award business to the white tenderer even though the black tenderer could be given a desperately needed chance. Blacks are to busy immersed in their desparation and hopelessness to no longer believe in a brighter future. We live in a royal mess. I am certain that corruption was there even in the apartheid government. People will always be greedy and take their chances. I mean, a lot of people today continue to claim that they didn’t realize apartheid was that bad! We know how today, you continue in the same vein and refuse to lift a figure to transform this country. We see daily your active suppression of black suppliers and industry, your passively aggressive stance on equality and transformation. We see you daily demanding to be treated as Baas or Madam just like the “good old days” when all blacks were mild and pliable to whiteness. Back to the point: up to 90% of black children in South Africa continue to go to under-resourced, ill-equipped schools while hungry and sick. They come from environments rought with poverty, abuse,violence and neglect. Do we accept it because apartheid made it normal and made us hardened to injustice? A sad manifestation of black power and white supremacy that leads either group into a world so removed from reality. Our active perpetuation of apartheid created systems and policies is baffling. We need to emancipate ourselves from the mental slavery as Bob Marley puts it. The high rates of violent crime and unemployment occur because we choose to perpetuate our mental slavery and shy away from the noble cause of mental emancipation. The utter denial that comes with denying the suffering in your midst for as long as it remains a few streets away from you. The entitlement that comes with blaming the other party until the rape, robbery and devastation becomes a crime scene at your doorstep that will forever change your pretentious, false state that comes with bloodied hands. Until it happens in your house…to your loved one…to you. Is it right to wait until then so you can then justifiably say “they” did it? “Them”…the ones you chose to do nothing to bring up into the economic activity and the educational system so that you can remain safe? So that you could guarantee your child’s future above theirs? So that you could retain your unfairly obtained privilege, I daresay. So that you can preserve your right to cheap (invariably) black labour in your house…No, it was not “them” that killed your dream…it was your choice to keep them away from your class and out of your league. Your choice of “us against them”. Your choice of maintaining the favorable side of your status quo. Your choice to hate, look down on and pity them with that fatalistic false sense that the ‘chosen ones’ tend to adopt. Whether you are black or white, your choice to do NOTHING always leads to something. Your choice to actively pursue divisive and racially charged stances. Choose well, choose right, choose yourself as a part of a whole. Choose us, choose South Africa.

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