It’s hard on our kids when education is not fashionable

While we celebrate the achievements of our matrics, we must remember students who survived the adversities of their backgrounds.

Those are from communities either struggling to keep the lights on or ravaged by gang activity and punctuated daily with the sound of gunshots.

There are children who must endure these difficulties and many fall victim to the streets. But there are others who do make it – surviving an environment not of their own creation.

I watched a clip about a student who obtained multiple distinctions. He spoke about how he had to sacrifice his bread money to buy a candle to burn the midnight oil while he studied. He did so with the intention to one day live a better life because he was told that education is the key to that better life – sacrificing bread, food money, for a candle in order to study.

Let that sink in.

That same student also mentioned how, at times, he had to shut out the sound of blaring music in neighbouring taverns in the township.

Adults simply don’t support the students of their communities to foster an environment that is conducive to study and betterment.

While many tavern owners claim the very alcohol and music allows them to put food on the table and put their children through school, we must ask ourselves if it is sensible to gamble with the education of our children.

The right to a decent education and a better quality of life is more than just government delivering textbooks and providing educational structures. As parents, we have no right to complain that government has done very little when we are the very stumbling blocks these children must overcome.

There is a failure not only as communities in the delivery of our children’s education, but also in our apathy towards anything not laced in social media hype, not followed by the glare of the media and not controversy-filled.

As parents, can we not simply do right by our children and make education not only fashionable, but also something worth attaining?

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo

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