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Power politics is ruining SA. We need a dramatic shift in focus

Ideas

Power politics is ruining SA. We need a dramatic shift in focus

With 45% of the population unemployed, we can’t afford to allow greed and power to distract us from our priorities

Columnist

There is much we can learn from the pupils who protested against apartheid education back in June 1976.

They were focused. There was a real and urgent crisis facing them and the country. First, they were being force-fed Bantu education, a malevolent and racist system of teaching the aim of which was to keep them in menial jobs and ignorance. Second, they were being threatened with being taught in Afrikaans, the language of their oppressors. The pupils didn’t hold endless talk shops. They marched on the authorities. The regime responded with murder: 176 people died in the days immediately after June 16, with some estimates ranging up to 700 dead in the months afterwards.

What we can learn from that terrible winter’s day is this: the pupils were facing an urgent, major crisis and they took steps to deal with it head-on. They did not get distracted. They did not dilly-dally. They faced it...

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