Remarks by Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. N Mfeketo during the of Mandela Month celebration at Khayelitsha, Cape Town, 28 July 2017

Principal of Sizimisele Technical High School
Members of the School Governing Body
Educators at Sizimisele Technical High School
Our Esteemed Guests from Carbonado Energy
Partners of the School
Members of the Media
Distinguished guests
Learners

Ladies and gentlemen

I am happy to celebrate Mandela Month with you right at its tail end. I could not join you on the official day of the 18th of July because I was abroad on official duty. Mr Veerasamy, who joins me here on stage, also comes from a long trip abroad; he came back to country especially for this programme.

Mr Veerasamy also relocated back to South Africa from New Zealand after many years of teaching and living there. His son, Dhesigan, impressed on him to come back home to plough back to the community in South Africa.

I am happy to share the stage with them because theirs is a true South African story. As I speak, Mr Veerasamy is still wanted in New Zealand and other parts of the world for his expertise in Science education. It is therefore a special privilege to have him decide to dedicate his time and energy to training in your school. I personally thank him for his exemplary patriotism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This gesture of adopting this is an important message for the private sector in South Africa. More than painting and cleaning streets, not that these are not important, we need more long-term sustainable interventions programmes, which look to the future of our country. The private sector in South Africa needs to engage more with us as government in solution-oriented approaches. The problems of this country run deep and date back to centuries. Without defending some of the shortcomings of our government, the reality is that it will take many years to fix our problems and the private sector needs work more with us to address the needs of our communities, as it is done here today. We know that education and children as the future were very important to Madiba. Education is most vital to us as African leaders. Africa has the youngest population in the world. Our continental vision of Agenda 2063 places huge importance in the youth as a demographic dividend.

It is only through quality education that our young have any hope for the future. It is also only through quality education that our future has any hope from our young.

Programme Director, I am encouraged by the wave of youth activism in the country. Young people in South Africa are saying quite clearly that their tomorrow begins today. Our successes and shortcomings of the past are inherited by this generation and it is imperative for the youth to focus on education to best sharpen themselves to be ready for the future.

Our children however, cannot do it on their own. The old African proverb reminds us, that it takes a village to raise a child. Often our children have to fend for themselves as they are disconnected from their parents. We need to do better for their children. A child that you ignore today, is a danger to you tomorrow. I understand the hardships of our people, but there is nothing more important than our children. We can never bring them to this world, only to hand them over to this world without holding their hands. Bazali, ndicela nikhuthazane ukuza ezintlanganisweni ezibizwa esikolweni. Ootitshala baziva betsala bodwa xa ningezi kwaye iyabagqiba amandla lonto. Masizame nathi siyi Governing Body sibize abazali kwizinto zesikolo sikhulise uluntu sisonke. I am reminded here of a powerful quote from the great writer, Es’kia Mphahlele, who said, and I quote: “Because of our preoccupation with the things that help us survive our conditions, with the sheer mechanics of living, African parents have tended to regard school as a shelter for their children while older people are at work during the day. They have never, as a pressure group, asked what their children are being taught or sold short by the teacher, himself a victim of the system.”

I plead with you bazali, ndiyacela niyikhuthalele imfundo yabantwana ukudlua ukubazisa esikolweni. The circle between the learner, teacher and parent is a golden triangle in education. All the schools that do well, even without many material resources, have this golden triangle.

At the beginning I spoke about my official work abroad. Our work abroad is for the benefit of our country here at home. I want to encourage our leaners to think globally, and act locally. Think for yourself as an individual, work together as a collective, live to serve a purpose much bigger than yourself.

As Madiba said, the future is in your hands. The future of Africa is in your hands.

As I end Principal, I now formally launch our partnership with this school. I hand over to you a small token of our donation in the form of these boxes of calculators and scientific instrument boxes. This goes with the skills transfer and teaching by Mr Teddy Veerasamy for the future. We know there is more to be done and we will look into this in the future. We want to see results improve principals and with the students that will graduate and go on to higher education, I want to have lunch with them and bid them good luck for their future that all started here in Khayelitsha.

I thank you!!!

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building

460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
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