It’s distressing that a march has to be organized to put before us the importance of improving education for children. Will it take another Soweto uprise to create the pressure needed for deeper engagement in the struggle? Friday afternoon, concerned citizens of Cape Town marched to the Parliament building. The march was organized by Equal Education, an NGO that describes themselves as a movement of learners, parents, and teachers striving for quality and equality in South African education through analysis and activism. They are organizers for change, working so that every child might enjoy the right due to them, simply to learn.
“Amazwi Wethu,” means our voices in isiXhosa. Where are our voices? Where are our cries? That communities have to form walking school buses to keep children safe on their way to school, that school aged children are being recruited to deal drugs on the campuses, that the infrastructures of some are in incredible disrepair, that the resources of some are limited, that the teachers of some are not resourced for the work, that young girls stay home for lack of access to feminine products in the communities of some…it is time for our voices to be heard saying, “enough!”
Edward Everett Hale is quoted as saying:
I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere
with what I can do.
So often, when ideas are lifted up, an inordinate amount of time will be spent discussing all the reasons why a particular idea won’t work. This way of engagement is what I have come to call a symptom of the intellectualized faith of our day and age. We can become paralyzed in our action, by the thoughts that war within our minds. There is no better example of this, than the current water crisis in the Western Cape. One can spend hours debating all the things that won’t work and never leave people with the one thing they can do that will make a difference. In the end, we might allow our intellect to be on display, but what about the ground and its thirst? We cannot make a difference in every situation in the world, but each of us can do something. Can’t we work to do something for the children of this generation and the generations to come, that they might have an opportunity simply to learn in environments organized in the best possible way?
The movement being organized by Equal Education is a call for system change within the system that delivers education to children. The system is off line if it is not working for all, so it is time for engagement in the work of making it right. If we are not a system person, we sometimes want to leave system issues to system people. With no Mandela, Gandhi, or MLK Jr in our day and age, the changers of the system for the world’s children is each of us.
Oh, that every child might have such an advocate, the voice of all the people on their side! Oh, that we might witness the day when NGO’s like Equal Education are shut down not for lack of resources, but for lack of need. Where are our voices, Amazwi Whethu, for the children of this city, this country, this world? If we struggle with the leaders of this day, let us be about the business of rising up new leaders in the children of this world, that they might continue in the work of shining light upon the places where the residue of apartheid continues to divide.
To join Equal Education’s movement: https://equaleducation.org.za
With you on the journey,