Public education in South Africa leaves much to be desired, we trail far behind countries of similar economic and social development, and at times even behind those who are less developed than we are. Yes, the State has failed in its attempts to meet this social right for all South Africans; there are many reasons as to why it has failed.
Yet despite this we have instances of great success from people who have overcome tremendous adversity and managed to succeed. Yes the education system is in shambles, yes the state has failed, yet some people tend to rise above that, why are the majority not doing the same?
Education goes much further than a classroom experience, it also heavily relies on the individual’s willingness to learn, the support and emphasis on the importance of education expected of parents, and the accessibility to varied mediums of education. The failure of one of these variables, coupled with an already crippled education system, has an adverse affect on the quality and impact education has on a life.
South Africans are synonymous with resilience, a testament to that are the stories of people who have pursued education with unrelenting will, who did not become victims of their circumstance, who even amidst unwarranted strife for a person their age, have managed to dig deeper and keep on going. I have heard of high school students who sold essays to make ends meet, university students who worked two jobs, while homeless but never deserting their education.
What most of these stories have in common was that these individuals had at least two of the supporting variables I mentioned above; the most important of all being a person who supported and constantly impressed upon the young mind the importance of education.
One of Mbewu’s initiatives is supporting an Education Programme called Thandulwazi hosted by St Stithians College, this is one of many programmes of South Africans rolling up their sleeves and dealing with the problem at hand.
I implore those who have gone ahead and succeeded to Pay It Forward by doing something to assist a young mind in unlocking their potential. It need not be with Mbewu or any established programme; perhaps mentoring a child or making a contribution towards books; whatever your soul is moved to do. The responsibility is ours, just as when there is market failure the state is expected to step in; in this case the state has failed, and I challenge the citizens to step up.
We are the custodians of the future, which the following generations will inherit, if we cannot equip these generations with the tools they need to navigate the world we have in fact contributed to the demise of our beloved country.
A Luta Continua – The Struggle Continues!