I hate it when people expect the government to do everything for them for free without them ever considering where the money is coming from and without them ever considering “paying it back”. The government is not there to fund your lifestyle. Your grandmother’s pension money is not there to do do your nails and eyelashes.
The money we get from the state is there to ensure our survival. It’s more of a loan than a handout. Free health care, basic housing and education is an investment in the future of the country. We need the basics so that we can focus on the task at hand. In case you’ve forgotten, we’re trying to change the world.
I remember having a conversation with my cousin about the similarities and differences between our schools. I told them about girls who had basically missed a term’s worth of school. He told me that even if a child didn’t feel like going to school, they would wake up at 05:00, get ready and go. He told me it was because they knew that they were guaranteed a meal at school. Situations were so bad at home that school is the only ray of hope in their lives.
Things start to get tricky when people think that education is not worth it. That there are easier ways. This is not just a problem amongst poor Africans. One of my mothers, who lives in Sweden, described their education system as one that was crumbling. Pupils in high schools have the reading proficiency of primary school kids because they don’t take their education seriously. She also joked about how one would never see any stories being published in newspapers of matriculants getting distinctions because they simply don’t give a flying *#$@.
She explained that a person who goes to school and gets a degree does not end up earning much more than a person that simply lives off of the government. This is because of their extreme take on “socialism”. Many people are just content with living off of the state (or rather the hard earned tax money of the working minority). I was surprised because in politics Scandinavian countries are always praised for getting things right.
The point is when people are given everything they won’t really have any incentive to try better themselves. The state should never take that approach.
I want opportunities. I want doors to be opened and ceilings to be shattered. I want my beginnings (no matter how humble) to have no negative impact on where I plan to go. I want that for every child. I want that for every person. I want girls to get sanitary towels from the state so that they stop skipping school for a week every month. I don’t want a growling belly to distract any child from concentrating on their books. I want academic excellence to automatically translate to an academic scholarship. I want fees to fall. I want bullsh*t language policies that prevent access into institutions to fall. I want the term “born-free” to actually mean something.
I don’t want to hear any excuses for not being the best you can be. We need to dismantle this system that tells groups of people that they “can’t” before ever giving them the opportunity to “do”. That’s the South Africa I live for. That’s the South Africa I want to serve. This is the South Africa I am willing to die for.