Shattered School in a Broken Country

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In the 21st century South Africa celebrates twenty-two years of democracy in the year 2016. Like most young adults, our nation is at a stage where we are trying to find our identity. This has been a particularly tumultuous process for our nation, most evident by the increased level of racially motivated attacks across social media. The side effects of South Africa’s transformation into adulthood have even permeated through the cracks in the elite boy’s private schools gate, and burst our perfect “Bubble”. The question we need to ask is “How did we arrive here?”

In the case of South Africa it may be easy for us to point to our leaders and say that “It is all their fault for being so corrupt”. While it is a valid statement that some of the individuals that have been elected to lead our country have not shown integrity or honour in their actions, that they have continuously hurt and disappointed us. While it is true that these self-named “Saviours of the People” constantly endanger us by their poor decision making, and that they have broken many promises and even more hearts. Would it be justifiable to say that all our problems will be fixed if all those people, who have wronged us as a nation, were removed? Will the removal of Zuma from office suddenly create jobs for the millions of unemployed people? Will voting a new political party into power fix the racist mind-set of the people in the country? The real issue here is that South Africans are reluctant to take responsibility for the role that we have played in the deterioration of our country.

Similarly the schools community refuses to accept the fact that we have allowed seemingly “minor” acts of racism to go unpunished. It is due to this leniency that the perpetrators of these “minor” acts have seen their behaviour as acceptable and have continuously kept pushing the boundaries, and now we find ourselves with a huge problem on our hands and fail to realise that we are responsible for creating it. This problem is not one that sprang out of nowhere, it has been brewing under the badge of the blue blazer and all it took for it to bubble over was a simple image of “Alexander Township” sent out across social media with a single caption “Afs”. The motivation behind this image may not be very clear, but the reaction it received was akin to the response to the Penny Sparrow Facebook post, though on a much smaller scale. However awful this image may be, is a mere symptom of a much larger disease encompassed within this beautiful evergreen campus. 

It follows that the only reasonable explanation for this sudden bombardment of racially charged slander, and the subsequent uproar from the “PC Police” is a result of the ignorance of the people of this school and this country. It is an ignorance not to the presence of the problem, but an ignorance to there being another perspective to the situation, with a completely different set of opinions and consequences. We are all under the illusion of our side being the only side, and it is because of this apathy for the other side that we have not found a feasible solution to this problem. It is this apathy for the other side that will ensure that the fires will continue to burn across the entire nation.

It is apparent that the lack of system restructuring from the old oppressive regime to the new democratic one, is the reason we are experiencing such major issues at this stage in our democracy. There were confessions, yet, there was no atonement for the wrongs committed. We were told to be a Rainbow Nation, but we were never taught how to be the Rainbow Nation.

Thus it can be concluded that the solution to all this turmoil is for the people to be educated. Let the people be educated about the effects the past has had on us today. Above all, let the people be educated about the struggles of the people. Show the people the other point view and then they will be able to understand, empathise, and heal.

Ntokozo Siyabonga Zwane

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