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Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .

Our youth are failing themselves

By Sandile Memela | Jan 08, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A FEW days ago I had a conversation with my niece Nomfundo about matric results.

A FEW days ago I had a conversation with my niece Nomfundo about matric results.

She is a second-year science student at Wits University. She obtained one distinction at a private school in matric.

Nomfundo does not believe that whites have greater intelligence than blacks.

"It is not that whites are smarter. The fact of the matter is that black students are just lazy and uninspired. They lack focus, discipline and determination," she says.

It is a fact that in the post-liberation period African students in matric hold the record for being the worst performers.

If you look at the faces of smiling and happy pupils who have obtained more than six distinctions in matric this year, they are mostly white.

Of course, that tells us something, not about who has superior intelligence but who is willing to work, work and work hard even if they go to parties.

Nomfundo says during her high school days, what struck her was what African students were obsessed with.

"Black pupils seem to be interested in hairstyles, designer labels, parties and, of course, booze."

Of course, this is a generalisation that makes the innocent suffer but one only has to visit malls, festivals, nightclubs and other places of entertainment to find out in which direction black students channel their energies.

The reality of the situation is that white pupils are too small a minority to dominate matric results.

It is time that hard questions were put to black post-liberation society: for how long are blacks going to depend on affirmative action and government contracts to make headway in life?

Of course, it is a justifiable government policy to demand that tertiary institutions give preferential treatment to black students to be enrolled at universities.

But who deserves the opportunity more between a super-performing white student and a time-wasting black student with low marks?

I would be wary to answer quickly, without any reservation, and with the deepest conviction of my heart and soul that the opportunity should go to a black student.

It is time blacks re-examined the under-performance of black pupils at matric level and beyond.

Since 1994 black pupils like Nomfundo have been given equal opportunities as their white counterparts.

They now have the power to choose to be super-achievers or wallow in mediocrity.

Their parents and the government continue to sacrifice huge amounts of money for them to attend the best schools under the best conditions.

Fundamentally, black pupils are lazy people who are products of their socioeconomic circumstances.

Their matric results have very little to do with their genes or the ability to do better.

It is time black society accepted it is raising lazy and uninspired pupils who are encouraged to rely on false affirmative action.

In fact, black pupils have internalised a culture of entitlement that over-emphasises skin colour, worshiping at the altar of materialism and political connectivity over merit.

This marks the beginning of the end of black rule and self-determination as ultimate power, knowledge and intelligence will always rest with whites.

If we want a better future for our youth it is time we critically examined their performance in matric as that will determine the quality of leadership for the country.

But the youth are failing themselves and the country.

lThe writer works for the department of arts and culture. He writes in his personal capacity.


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