Letters to the editor: June 24 to 30 2016

Lessons unlearned from ’76

Those who were “celebrating” the 40th anniversary of the June 16 1976 uprising conveniently avoided talking about the multiple causes of that event and focused on only one: the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Some of the other causes were the lack of facilities such as libraries in township schools, a lack of teachers and the curriculum that was offered at those schools.

These problems are even worse today. The language of teaching and learning is English, which is not an African language. The shortage of teachers is still there. Dilapidated mud structures are still there and they are called schools.

Some schools have scholar transport and others do not. The current government needs court orders for it to build a school for black children.

The children of the elite are enrolling in schools that have the best facilities. They receive the best education. They stand the best chance of occupying the best positions in society. This perpetuates a cycle of poverty, unemployment and other social ills that are a result of the failure of the society to provide education for its children. Let us wake up before it is too late. – Zolani Dinwa, Willowvale, Eastern Cape

■ It has been 40 years since the gallant fight by the students of our country. But some people are obsessed with comparing today’s youth with those of 1976, and condemn them for “failing” to emulate the youth of that time.

On the contrary, there is immense potential in our youngsters. If the so-called independent experts could take the time out of their busy schedules and travel along all the Rea Vaya routes from Johannesburg to Soweto, they would see the many youngsters gathered in groups, focused on their smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The future is already in their hands. All that’s needed is a little guidance for them to see that, through free internet access, they can find and create jobs.

Some youngsters have come under so much pressure to emulate the youth of 1976 that they have engaged in violent protests, burning schools, thinking this is what their heroes would like to see them do.

They have been misled, and in the process have not realised that in a democratic South Africa they have no business carrying Molotov cocktails and burning down everything their parents helped to build.

The youth of 1976 did not spring from a vacuum. They were a product of guidance and encouragement from older revolutionaries.

Thus, the role of elders today is not to keep painting a gloomy picture. Show the youth that the future is already in their hands, and they will do the county proud. Stop condemning them for “failing” to emulate the youth of 1976 and guide them accordingly. They deserve that. – Kwazi Mthembu, Soweto

Change law so criminals cannot be elected

Your lead article 28 ‘criminals’ on ANC list appalled me. It is ridiculous that anyone with a criminal record or an outstanding criminal case should be permitted to stand for public office of any sort.

I imagine that this restriction was not included in the Constitution when it was first drawn up in order to enable the many people who had political cases outstanding to stand for office in the new government.

Yet more than 20 years have passed and the time has come to correct this very serious flaw. President Jacob Zuma managed to get elected after the outstanding charges against him were dropped – and look where that has got the people of South Africa.

Our government is now full of people who are more interested in enriching themselves than in developing the educational, physical and employment opportunities so desperately needed by all.

People should be elected for the competencies they can bring to governance, not because they belong to a clique that displays a serious lack of ethics as well as great skill at diverting taxpayers’ money to serve them.

We should all work to give back to South Africa, not mismanage and steal the funds of our country.

Incidentally, do all the people who get shuffled in and out of our government and municipal positions receive state pensions? – Corinne Roy, Johannesburg

SABC must give us the best of all worlds

Muna Lakhani (Pale people, we want our airwaves all African), there’s nothing pale about me. Mixed African, European and Asian, I am olive-skinned and of the people who evolved at the Cape over the past 350 years.

My African renaissance has no borders, taking from all the culture and knowledge available to me – from whichever continent I wish to draw on. That is what freedom means. This does not make me any less of an African, and I hope the SABC will in future select the very best of African culture and international material for its viewers and listeners.

Great art, literature, music, the best education and science are for the benefit of all, and should particularly be made available to working people, who have the least opportunities. Instead, the SABC is turning into a state broadcaster, a mouthpiece for the ruling elite.

“Cultural knowledge” is certainly held by all Africans, but the “cultural knowledge” of the acting chief operating officer of the SABC, the public broadcaster serving a diverse population of more than 50-million -people, is required to extend somewhat further than the boundaries of South African tribal societies.

Don’t do the African people (all of us) the injustice of denying them access to everything of the best human creativity has to offer. – Irma Liberty, Cape Town

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