besides “a calculated use of violence, or the threat thereof against people or persons to attain certain goals” – something that most people living in South Africa are well familiar with. In the dark years, living in South Africa one could expect and not be disappointed to find your education, transport, health and your general security being compromised. I’m trying to figure out something. Have things changed that much? Has South Africa really moved forwards? Cosatu [Congress of South African Trade Unions] is now blackmailing the government, the country, the people. I’m all for fairness but things have become so backward internationally that one wonders where Maggie Thatcher is now that we need her. Let’s not look just at South Africa. Worldwide this has become a joke of substantial proportions. We all work with a lot of people from all races, nationalities, creed, colour and religions – whether it be in your own little empire, for a boss, corporate or otherwise and one thing sticks out like a sore thumb: most people are getting tired of this. To be more specific – the reality is that we have become so weak that we take the path of least resistance.
I’m going to discuss something which has worried me for some time. The a+b phenomena. In the last year I have interviewed a minimum of 30 people that have taken mathematics at school and they say that they loved the subject. I ask them “What is a+b then?”. To date not one, yes 0% have been able to give me the propler answer. Simply put, can I add an apple and a pear? Another question posed to people that took chemistry at school and found it to be their bestest, much likest subject: “What is NaCl?” Again a resounding zero to all contestants. These people are out there looking for jobs, want big money and they too, (yes they will) can strike when they feel that they are earning too little. Output zero. Skills zero.
I find this odd. What could be the problem. I’d like to that think a lot of the interviewees were just plain thicko but we are not taught to think this. Every now and again we have someone that is so sharp, so bright, so cunning, so clever that cannot believe our good fortune. But you know what – they are all just well read. Good parenting. Good teachers. My favourite person in South Africa is Barry Ronge. Huh? Yes, here we have someone whom has a passion for the English language. Like I expect my French teacher to be. The question I ask myself is what has changed? My science teacher had a passion for the sciences. My accountancy teacher told us not to trust science. It changes. Accountancy doesn’t. A debit remains a debit and a one remains a one. They were all correct. It was a passion they had and the better they were at teaching their subject the more followers they had. I love accountancy, maths, science etc, etc. I like learning. I try not to be conceited because I know my short-comings, I was bad at English and worse still at my second language although both teachers were excellent. But I can hopefully understand what I read because …. I just read. If I don’t know I look it up. Like Barry. But I’m not as bright as Barry and never will be. But I bet you he cannot change a spark-plug.
I’d really love all the teachers out there to start telling their kids to start reading. I also want all the teachers out there to start listening to what Mark Shuttleworth has to say and explore all avenues of science with their kids. To me Mark is possibly one of South Africa’s great mentors. Not just Madiba.
If teachers don’t get support, neither do the kids. “My Kingdom for a Horse.”
Guys, girls – in September 2009, as I write this article you need to start showing a damned sight more respect to your teacher, your class-mates and your studies. From what I have seen at an international level we are nurturing an empire of morons. Have an interest, read a book and get off the ganja. If you want to go on the internet go to ‘How Stuff Works’. Go to ‘Popular Mechanics’, go to ‘Microsoft’, to Wiki, wherever – but start reading and start showing an interest.