EDITORIAL | SA youth learn the lessons of corruption the hard way
Young people have become victims of PPE graft, state capture and empty state coffers
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi spoke about “immeasurable panic and misery in our schools” on Thursday as he listed the latest Covid-19 stats: 1,077 teachers and 1,977 pupils have tested positive in the province, and 20 schools have been closed. The good news is the government has undertaken to vaccinate all educators and staff as early as next month. We live in hope.
This does not take away from the fact that our youth is a generation in crisis. Just this week TimesLIVE published a series of essays of teenagers writing about their experiences of “learning under lockdown”, based on a book compiled by Jonathan Jansen and Emily O’Ryan. One of the saddest stories is that of Etaine Wilson, who failed some of her matric subjects last year. She submitted her essay to Jansen and O’Ryan, in which she wrote about her mother’s support and how her mother used her last pennies to buy Etaine data to study with. A year later, Wilson’s mom has died and she is now rewriting two matric subjects. If she had access to more resources and uninterrupted schooling last year, her situation might have been different.
Unicef, the UN agency responsible for humanitarian and developmental aid to children, this week warned that the problems of SA’s youth are just piling up. More than 55% of young people are anxious about the impact of Covid-19 on violence and poverty. Illness, death among family members and disrupted education have a huge effect on their mental health. They are turning to one another for support, which is great, but more than 60% do not seek formal help, an indication that we are doing something wrong. Either formal help is not easily accessible or too expensive, or mental health stigma has not been addressed...