The African National Congress is starting its “dispute resolution process” in a bid to address the a.
DEAR Comrade Angie
I hope you do not mind me, a political gentile, claiming your comradeship. If that is in order, let us get straight to the point of this letter.
First, I confess I always took you as one of "them" - the new-day leadership we have inflicted on ourselves to impose foreign, unworkable solutions on the myriad problems we have here.
But last week you floated my boat, comrade. I am beginning to like you.
For those who missed it, you were all over the media making the right noises, saying, in essence, that there is a lot that is wrong with our education that needs to be righted.
But when I wanted to kissyou was when you said "we must go back to the basics".
Aah, well said.
You see, comrade, when the present government came to power we were all so drunk on freedom that we threw out the legendary baby with the bath water. In doing away with apartheid we also unwittingly did away with some of the good things that bolstered it.
Chief among these were discipline and respect, comrade.
You and your lot came in and said: "Henceforth we are free. Any teacher who administers corporal punishment should be criminally charged. (Why? What if I as parent want MY child thrashed if he goesoff the rails?) Do away with the prefect system (what the hell was wrong with that?) Children must not clean up the mess they cause on school property (Mama mia!) Children must not stand when teachers enter the classroom (Where they still do, as in many Afrikaans schools, the results are brilliant). No child must be thrown out of class for any reason (Even if he takes a swig from a nip of brandy during class?)"
Know what, comrade, I am surprised you forgot to get rid of "sir" and "madam". At the rate we were going, pupils would soon be calling their teachers Sam, Oupa, Maria, Angie .
"Your name is Angie. Why should I call you ma'am?"
I felt a little embarrassed when a radio interviewer repeatedly referred to you as "Angie" last week. In your position you deserve a little respect. But then I remembered it was YOUR government, of which you are a senior member, that got rid of simple, old fashioned respect and discipline.
It is your government that unleashed the ANC Youth League, not only on your opponents, but on yourselves too. Julius - who ought to have been preaching that children should go to school, respect their teachers, and learn - is biting you now.
I think he is coming for you. One of these days he'll tell you to "use your rural accent to solve our problems".
Back to the basics, comrade. I like that. I hope you are sincere. If anything, I guess you have a powerful principal in Msholozi, who has indicated in more ways than one that he harbours little faith in foreign, Eurocentric approaches to discipline. The two of you should go the whole hog and save us from the rest of your stable-mates.
But I am worried: you were part of the lot that set the rot.