It is sad, but entirely expected, that the Twitter-fuelled “row” about DA chief whip John Steenhuisen has developed into a racial slanging match.
Many on “Black Twitter” are saying that, to succeed in South Africa, you need a degree if you’re black but can get by fine without one if you’re white.
Many whites, tweeting in defence of Steenhuisen, claim the degrees earned by the likes of the EFF’s Julius Malema or Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are somehow not worth much.
Away from that anger, though, there is an interesting debate about the value of “paper” qualifications.
Steenhuisen, by all accounts, has done a good job as chief whip and as an MP – a position for which there are no minimum qualifications.
People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many of our current MPs on the other side of the House from the DA, also have no degrees or are university dropouts … but all have succeeded and made their mark.
The Steenhuisen affair poses a particular danger to the future of South Africa, because it promotes the idea that you need a degree to succeed.
That’s why we have thousands of unemployed graduates, instead of artisans and technicians, who are the lifeblood of any economy.