Thursday, June 9, 2011

The ANC has failed South Africa's youth

The 16th of June is around the corner again. In South Africa it is celebrated as Youth Day - a public holiday. One year ago, on 16 June 2010, I published an article about the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976, where I presented some lesser-known truths about that ill-fated communist-inspired rebellion of 1976. The article has attracted a considerable number of negative comments, much of which I was forced to delete due the over-excessive use of vulgar language and personal threats by commentators. Click here to view the article.

This year I’ve decided not to voice my own opinion regarding this issue, because my previous article is still generating sufficient attention to this subject. Instead, I’ve decided to publish an article written by Rhoda Kadalie, a former Human Rights Commissioner and currently the Executive Director of Impumelelo Innovations and Awards Trust. More info about Rhoda Kadalie’s personal background history can be viewed here.

By Rhoda Kadalie
08 June 2011

The ANC has failed South Africa's youth

Its Youth League is more concerned about the conspicuous consumption and instant wealth of its leader, Julius Malema, than pressurising government to address the needs of the youth. A month ago I spoke at a university graduation. The comment that received the most applause was my advice to students not to let "Julius Malema derail them from achieving their dreams."

The fear that he will become president one day is deep, and thousands of young people are tired of having him thrust down their throats. The sooner the ANC refrains from using its youth leaders as pawns in their political games, the better for all of us.

It should, instead, invest energy and resources in the holistic development of young people to prepare them for a better future. In the meantime, our white counterparts are continuing on an upward trajectory, getting on with life, educating their children, creating platforms for them to excel in sports and the arts, and sending them abroad when there is no work for them here.

I see how they excel in the orchestras, the eisteddfods, at public speaking, classical music and maths and science competitions.

Black SA, on the other hand, is on the decline. And Parliament, as the body that represents us, is itself a display of mental vacuity. The inanity of public discourse seems almost deliberate and the youth has become a casualty of the national "dumbing down" process.

The South African Institute of Race Relations' Fast Facts (May 2011) reveals a picture that is grim and bears repeating. Teenage pregnancies are rife and resulted in some 50 000 of school girls dropping out of school in 2007 - a 151% increase since 2005.

Equally alarming is the result of a survey conducted in KwaZulu Natal of 14 - 22 year-olds which revealed that 54% of young men left school because of fathering a child. "Girls aged 17 - 19 account for 93% of pregnancies among 15 - 19 year olds and research cited by LoveLife has suggested that teen pregnancy is much more likely to occur after school drop out." "... Abortions among under-18 year olds rose by 124% from 4 432 in 2001 to 9 895 in 2006."

Poor education results add fuel to the fire. Of the one million students who enrolled in grade 10 in 2007, 51% wrote the matriculation exams. Of those 31% passed grade 12 in 2009, and only 10% shockingly gained matriculation exemptions.

On average 17% of 16-18 year olds were not in school in 2006. University throughput rates are no better. Of 138 000 students who enrolled at university in 2002, 52% gave up while 15% were still studying after five years.

SA's dysfunctional school system and poor university throughput rates explain the high unemployment rates amongst the youth. In 2009 48% of SA's of 15 - 24 year olds were unemployed; by 2010 unemployment in that group increased to 51%. Some 3.3 million are not in employment, education, or training.

This bleak scenario coexists with high rates of HIV, sexual assault, rape and crime, and dysfunctional families, where fathers are mostly absent and mothers and grandmothers bear the brunt of child rearing. With 36% of the entire prison population aged 25 and under, the future looks bleak indeed.

The ANC's magnificent victory over apartheid paved the way for it to undo the carnage that the group areas act, forced removals, relocation and resettlement wreaked on black families. Dominated by an educated black male leadership, the Party was uniquely placed to create role models for young black men by adopting policies and programmes to heal family dysfunction caused by the past.

Had they roped in religious and civil society organisations to help them rebuild families, nurture parental responsibility and build social capital amongst communities, at the inception of our democracy, SA today would have been a better place. Safe sex campaigns should have accompanied campaigns about safe relationships, mutual respect, love and compassion.

Instead, the ANC's gravest error was to mistake change for progress. It has reneged on one of its most important functions - nation-building. We are sitting on a time bomb and unless we act fast, society will unravel. To quote John Kerry: " is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families."

Sourced from:

The above article, written by Rhoda Kadalie, first appeared in Die Burger.


Latest 5 Featured Posts:

Operation Vula, its Secret Safari, and Zuma’s band of comrades - Dec. 2013
During 1986 the ANC launched an underground operation called Operation Vula. A lesser-known fact is that it continued to operate after Nelson Mandela's release in February 1990, and for three years after his speech in August 1990 when he reiterated the total commitment of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the SACP to the Groote Schuur Minute.

Heritage Day Photographs (Voortrekker Monument) - Sept. 2013
This posting includes a few photographs taken on Heritage Day 2013. The posting introduces an unusual but beautiful new structure called QUO VADIS? (with the question mark) which I’m sure many readers have never heard of.

The Yellow-Bucket Marula Tree: A Mystery Solved! - Oct. 2013
I came across a rather strange phenomenon one day while travelling along the R561 route between Tolwe and Baltimore in the Limpopo province of South Africa. A small yellow bucket was attached high-up in a branch of a Marula tree, hence the name of this posting. It’s a real funny story which I’m sure most readers will enjoy - as much as I enjoyed compiling the article  - (with illustrations).

Pretoria’s Monument for Victims of Terrorism - July 2013
Many people (including myself) had almost forgotten about a noteworthy monument in Pretoria that stood at the entrance of the old Munitoria building on the corner of Van der Walt and Vermeulen Streets (now renamed Lilian Ngoyi and Madiba Streets). When the Munitoria building was demolished on 7 July 2013 nobody could tell me whether the monument was still standing or not, so I decided to go look for myself.

Remembering The Battle of Delville Wood - July 2013
14 July marks a day when the South African 1st Infantry Brigade got engaged in the 1916 (WW1) Battle of the Somme, in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than a million men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles. One specific encounter during this battle, known as The Battle of Delville Wood, is of particular importance to South Africa. The posting includes a comprehensive article (with pictures) compiled and written by Petros Kondos.

African Countries (Alphabetical list):
(The links will redirect to the page dealing with the specific country.)