Celebration and rememberance.
Both are good and both are needed.
But what have the youth of today learned from the past and do people in general learn from history?
Unfortunately history is passed on mostly in the way the rulers of the day want it to be remembered. So to learn from history requires effort. Effort is rarely what youths want to exert.
One thing we know for sure is that lack of education and skills makes one poorer. An illiterate is easy to con into believing lies, a hungry person is easy to “buy” with the promise of food, a bamboozled person thinks he’s been given something, when in reality he’s been used.
In our recent past there were those leading the charge that said “liberation before education”! What has that left us with? Neither education nor liberation! Yes, there is the illusion of liberty because we have laws that say we are free (to an extent), but is someone who doesn’t have a house, who doesn’t have a job, who can’t do much in terms of economic activity free? Is someone who can barely read and doesn’t understand what is being written or said free? Is someone who receives a measly grant from government in order to survive (and has his vote purchased by the ruling party in the process) free? Are the people who are forced to pay the taxes to support the uneducated and government’s numerous failed attempt to save their doomed plan free?
The lesson to take away from youth day this year is this: South Africa is not free. Not until all are reasonably educated, until higher standards are set for our government, not until people start realising their mistakes of the past and learn from it, not until education comes before any other ideal, we will have a reasonable chance to be free. It is difficult to lie to someone who is well informed, hardly possible to cheat someone that understands what is happening and to enslave a wise person with good understanding are not easily achieved.
So who is brave enough to acknowledge that some of the fervour of the leaders of the past was misled? As a result of those choices we now have uneducated government leaders who make foolish choices and policies that enslave our children even more by keeping them in the dark (litererally and figuratively). “Liberation before education” was wrong and we’re paying the price for it and will be for many years.
The first step in rectifying that is to acknowledge that it was wrong.
The second would be to change our attitude from one of entitlement, to one of achievement. Personally I endevour to teach little ones that we can learn what we set out to learn, that we can read and write without government paying huge amounts of money to little effect, that watching tv is mind numbing, that reading books is better than drinking beer, that we can learn from other’s mistakes and if we don’t we will more painfully learn from our own, and that praying to God for wisdom, courage and strength is never in vain and is heard every time.
Finally, it’s good to know the past and to consider it, but reminiscing past glories is foolish if you aren’t ready and equipped yet to face the future.