It was so refreshing to read in The Star last night the article by Dr. Mamphela Ramphele entitled “We are letting the class of 76 down” – I would however change the title to “we have let the class of 76 down and many more South Africans also”.

The problems that exist in our country are not only in the area of education as the Doctor is aware and it is not only the youth from 1976 who have been let down. (I do understand the Doctor was focused on Education, so no, I am not being critical of her article) Dr Ramphele is 100% correct in everything she says related to the youth and education in particular.

The ideals of the youth of 76 who sparked the revolution that led to freedom have and are continually being systematically betrayed as pointed out by Dr Ramphele. These however are the very people who should now be saying enough is enough. We have been betrayed by our leaders, we have been betrayed by our liberators, we have been let down by our government – so its time for change.

As Dr Ramphle points out the problem has to do with the inability of the ruling party and Government to lead, manage and govern. The education system is in a shambles and there is no “VISION” or “SPECIFIC” plan of action to remedy the situation. We hear many promises but see no action. If Dr Ramphle is deemed to be wrong then I challenge the Government and Dr Nzimande to outline in specific detail
What exactly the plan of action is to ensure all schools are properly equipped, re built, renovated or whatever by December 2013 latest?
What specifically he is doing about the under trained teachers and teachers who fail to arrive at school?
What he specifically intends doing about schools without teachers and text books in the Eastern Cape
What exactly he intends doing about teachers who want to strike and thereby deny our children an education?
What exactly he intends doing about learners who thrash and wreck the very schools they depend on for their education?

Action needs to be taken and must be taken NOW – not by 2015 or 2020. Where is the responsibility and accountability?

Past President Nelson Mandela and the ANC had dreams and a vision for South Africa but this vision has long since been forgotten as a result of greed and self empowerment. The youth of South Africa had hope which has been taken away. Their dreams and aspirations have been shattered and they are on the verge of despair.

Dr Ramphele sees a change and “a growing movement of young people who are taking ownership of their country and leading their future’s shaping” – they are working together for a better tomorrow. In addition she points out that adults need to change their attitude to leadership in order to enable our youth to realize their potential. Our youth should be seen as the INNOVATIVE generation and not the lost generation. Change is called for and as in so many countries of the world change can only take place by the removal of leaders who are not performing or are incapable of leading.

This is no longer a racial situation, this is no longer historic or a previous situation. This is real and is in the now. Let’s stop blaming the past, let’s take the blinkers off and let’s face the reality that the problems we have in our education system exist today and must be dealt with today by the leaders of today. As Dr Ramphele says now is the time to “be honest, to link hands and to reconnect eyeball to eyeball and discuss the failures of the past 18 years”. We need to work together, today to address the problems of today. Yes we have the capacity for greatness but see very little of it in the current leadership of our country. Now is the time for change – now is the time to rise to our responsibilities as citizens.

Des Squire (Managing member)

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Well-expressed and said, Des. Blacks blame apartheid, whites blame the current government .. as you've said, it is the time to rise to our responsibilities as citizens.

Dr Ramphele is a great man to say that it is the time to be 'honest... and to discuss the failures of the past.  We must no longer make it a racial issue.  We are South Africans and should stand together.

Thank you for the response Wilma. I really hope we get some comment from others as this is a very important topic today. Watch the star for the next three episoed of Education focus on Mondays.

Yes we are all South African and must stand together - now is the time for some serious thinking and decisions.

Just something to add to this discussion too, its not entirely up to the leaders... its the learners that too should pave their own ways. Yes, as adults and an leaders in schools tools should be given. But these words of from a judge that deals with youth ring true. Very strong words I know, we all know that people who do this get ahead somehow...

I read that too - and I thought - this guy has hit the nail on the head!

Amen and amen!

well said Des. we cannot build a new national based on past problems, meaning that why can't we solve the problems we face today and stop blaming the past issues. There is and will never be  the right time if we continue looking back, the time is now, change is within us.

if you are in a journey and keep looking back it means you are lost, so let's wake up and live in today's world looking forward.

thank you, this article inspired me.

Thanks Des,

It's a difficult subject, and it needs brave leaders like Dr Ramphele to raise its profile.

And thanks for your inputs into this forum that help the rest of us keep abreast. I'm aware of how little I contribute, but how much I rely on your and other inputs.

Take care, Ian

Thanks Des. Very true. So, let's keep going. It doesn't matter how small our contribution, but it's a contribution in the right direction and every small step makes a difference.

Don't want to nitpick, but Dr Nzimande is the Minister for Higher Education.

Angie Motsheke is the Minister for Basic Education. She takes no responsibility for some schools in Limpopo not having text books yet. And she blames everyone else in the supply chain. Whatever happened to the concept of "the buck stops here"?

There is so little leadership in this country - it's easy to shrug it off, except when it affects education. Thank goodness Mamphele has made it her mission to take issue with the appalling state of education in this country. Text books not delivered, over 27,000 schools still do not have any computers - it is a national disgrace.

Well said Des - the whole of SA have been let down as we were hoping for a new beginning, moving from bad to good, not from bad to worse.  Love the quote from Principal John Tapene (NZ) - should inspire any youth or person to build and not to break down, to work and not sit back, to tackle the future with vigor and vim and not only to complain, but to be the change.  Moira, we also mourn the closing of over 300 schools this year alone in the Eastern Cape.  Somehow, we need a replacement for Angie Motsheke ... perhaps Dr Ramphele?  Although a medical doctor, she is such a great visionary leader with lots of experience from business to education...

Your summary, Des, and the inspiration from Dr. Mamphela Ramphele is so pertinent. A key issue in this crisis is the need for responsibility by everyone, including the youth as Tass has quoted. The constant harping by citizens of SA on rights with little if any focus on commensurate responsibility is overwhelming. The responsibility of the politicians to provide leadership is totally absent, their constant false message (always loud and clear at election time) to voters that life effectively owes the voters a living is irresponsible, and engenders a belief by the naive voter that it is all free everything: water, energy, housing, schooling etc. The government incompetence, and as a result, the lack of capacity to deliver anything they promise is clearly evident, and will eventually manifest itself in the voter taking action along the lines of an African spring and a sector take-over of government functions. Responsibility needs to be more evident in the actions of the nation as a whole, and rights follow from that. But the fish rots from the head. And then, as the saying goes, you get the government you deserve because you voted them in. When will we reach the tipping point to turn this around?

Many thanks for all the wonderful comments and thank you Tass for the very appropriate quote. 

I would like to clarify that my reference to Dr Nzimande refers to the fact that in terms of the NQF Act of 2009 he has overall executive responsibility for the NQF, SAQA, QC for General and Further Education and Training and the QC for Higher Education. As such the department of Basic Education falls under him.  




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