Between the country’s youth feeling disenchanted and the president saying he will put his political party ahead of the country he swore to serve it’s a hard time to feel anything but distressed about the state of the nation. The president’s spin doctor says his speech was taken out of context. Of course he would say that. I just hope he realises what damage his speech did to his party because the disenchanted youth would have heard this. The disenchanted youth are also scary because they think disruption and violence are the answer to their problems but heck, they are currently taking power away from this self-centred president. So, let them do what they need to do for now.
In the meantime, it seems as if the rest of South Africa will sit without much recourse. We have a lot we could potentially strike about but who can afford to take time off work or risk being beaten up by police. Also, most suffering South African’s are old and simply don’t have it in them anymore. They fought a hard battle to gain “freedom” and while they technically achieved this a lot of suffering has not been alleviated. As POWER FM put it “I did not struggle to be poor”. Struggle refers to “the struggle” and I’m sure people who were part of that struggle thought that the government would be their saviours and present them with real opportunity to grow wealth. I believe a lot of poor people would work if they just had jobs to go to. 21 years later, enter a youth who really have no options – so much for government promises – hence the disenchantment. Hence I don’t blame them for acting out – I which there was a different way for them to do it but apparently there isn’t a fast enough answer so they resort to bad behaviour.
Also, lack of options find a lot of young girls falling pregnant because at least they can get child care grants which will help their families. Never mind the child they are brining into this world who will also have no options. But if you’re hungry now and a baby will bring you money now who can really expect you to think of the future because somewhere in your teenage mind you think you’ll have a job in your adult life – your kids will be fine. But there are not enough jobs. It’s a vicious circle.
So, what is the solution? What can normal South African’s do. Us who mean well and want to work hard and want to help those around us. The vote only comes round every five years so let’s not hold our breath for a change in government or at least a better leadership within the same government.
The answer is not an easy one and I don’t think I have it in it’s entirety. All I know is that I have to try and help those closest to me and talk to them about these things. I need to be kind where I can. More importantly though is that I can not accept what it happening. I need to find ways to hold my leaders accountable. I need to tell them that a 35% pass rate is too low as it just sets children up for failure in the working world. In between universities and colleagues have to deal with 18 year old who are almost illiterate. I feel sorry for these institutions. They’re doing what they can but then student’s wonder what universities spend their money on. I should always about bad service and compliment good service. If I can offer a needy person a good word or a free English lesson I should do that. I should be part of the solution instead of just complaining. These are just some of the small things I can do. It’s a constant struggle but if I can encourage people to expect more from themselves and expect more from others then we will rise to a higher standard. We all have to strive for this together though. We all have a way we can contribute. It’s also not a quick solution but here we are – we have to do something.