CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2018 MATRICULANTS!
AZAPO takes this opportunity to congratulate the learners that passed the 2018 Grade 12 examination. It will be amiss of AZAPO if we did not pause and salute the educators that went all out to ensure that the learners succeed under difficult circumstances.
In her announcement of the 2018 Matric Results, the Minister of Basic Education told the Nation that the total number of candidates who registered for the 2018 November National Senior Certificate examinations were about 800 000. That number comprise about 624 000 full-time candidates, and 176 000 part-time repeat candidates. Not all those 800 000 candidates wrote all seven subjects or more of the 2018 Grade 12 Exams. Only about 512 735 full-time candidates and 117 661 part-time repeat candidates that finally wrote the Exams. The 78.2% pass rate is therefore based on the 512 735 full time candidates that wrote the Exams. And that is a 3.1% improvement from 75.1% in 2017.
AZAPO takes into account that 1 141 731 learners registered for Grade 1 schooling in 2007. We now know that only a meagre 624 733 made it to the 2018 Grade 12 Exam. All that means is that 516 998 were “lost” to the system. While there are reasons to be concerned, AZAPO will not be quick to suggest that the near 1.2 million learners that registered for Grade 1 in 2007 should all have written the 2018 Grade 12 Exam so that the pass rate be based on that number. We say this because we are aware that the schooling system has exit points other than the Grade 12. For instance, learners do exit through Grade 9 to TVET Colleges to qualify as the artisans that the economy need so much. Sadly, it is true that some learners do die along the way, while others get consumed by anti-social behaviour characterised by drug abuse and alcohol.
AZAPO is aware that tracing in the schooling system the approximately 1.2 million learners that registered for Grade 1 in 2007 has nothing to do with the 2018 Matric pass rate, but everything to do with the throughput or retention rate. We will therefore not confuse the two.
Even so, there is a sense in which the misguided celebrations of the 3.1% improvement in the Matric pass rate hide a lot of worrying things about the state of education in this country. For instance, 12 schools recorded a 0% pass rate in the same overall improvement. The Limpopo high schools of Senwane, Letshega-Malokwane and Ramaroke are part of the misery that is drowned by the celebrations. And a future of Black families stands compromised.
It should be noted that in the 2018 Grade 12 Exams many learners were not able to make it because they failed Mathematics and Physical Science. And that took place mainly in the Black schools in the townships and villages. We all know that the failure by Black learners of subjects like Mathematics and Physical Science is an apartheid legacy that the government needs to be serious in overhauling. That may mean that the Department of Science and Technology should have its mandate reviewed to play a decisive role in eradicating the lingering apartheid legacy insofar as creating a foundation for candidates that are doing such subjects.
AZAPO is saddened by the government’s neglecting of the integrated approach in developing education. The lack of the integrated approach is evident in township and village schools that have poor infrastructure. These schools have classrooms that are not conducive for teaching and learning; and no access to the Internet. The country has a Minister and Department of Public Works, but there is no effort to improve the Black schools’ infrastructure, which has an impact on learner achievement.
It is however unfortunate that the Matric Results tend to be highly politicised and over-emphasised at the expense of Early Childhood Development, of which we are told is critically important in shaping and influencing the development trajectory of the child. The political circus that we see yearly in the image of politicians jumping from classroom to classroom chastising and ridiculing educators in full glare of media cameras is meaningless and useless. Besides, an intervention at Grade 12 is so late that it is good for nothing.
However, the norm is that the Matric Results are always a spectacular public festival as they mark the end of gruelling years of school attendance and learning. They also mark the beginning of an uncertain future of hustling for the learners that passed, while giving some vague hope for the future of the country. This will become clear as a considerable number of the “successful” learners will soon find out that their “success” is not considered sufficient by the universities. This is when a number of the National Senior Certificate Bachelor Passes will be disqualified by the various entry systems into the faculties of the various universities. A Bachelor Pass to the Department of Basic Education and Training, is not always considered as such by the universities.
It is therefore worrying that the quality of the passes (bachelors, diplomas and certificates) is not improving. It goes without saying that the quality of the Matric results does not match the demands of the Universities in the country. There is a big curriculum miscommunication between the Institutions of Higher Learning and the Department of Basic Education. As we have indicated, some of the learners that achieved Bachelor’s passes in Matric may see themselves going through 2019 at universities improving subjects such as Mathematics, Accounting and Physical Sciences in order to meet the admission requirements to the desired faculties. This process is time-consuming for these learners, and costly for the parents.
A curriculum overhaul is therefore a matter of urgency in the schooling system. There is a need for a curriculum that will best prepare future citizens to meet and bravely face the challenges of the 21st Century and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The other horrific reality that will face the learners are the sky-high education fees of the South African universities. Some universities charge as high as R100 000 per student in one academic year! Unfortunately, not every deserving student will access the government’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The students and parents will learn the hard way that the government’s promise of “Free Education” was a false promise that was designed to kill the momentum of the #FeesMustFall Movement, while the voter was fooled to again vote for those that make false promises. The “Free Education” promise is a ghost that everyone talks about, but never seen.
Regrettably, a number of the passed learners will soon join the ranks of the 9 million unemployed people in our country. This does not give AZAPO joy. But it is a sad reality that must be talked about because it is a result of the country’s bad governance and mismanagement of the economy.
Despite the challenges, education remains the best resource in equipping the poor to escape poverty and ensuring the development of a nation.
One of the most enduring horrors of apartheid is the system of migratory labour. In terms of this immoral and wicked system, men would leave their families – wives and children – and go and stay in single-men hostels in the cities and major towns where they would sell their labour to mainly white owned mining companies and manufacturing firms.
These men, referred to as Magoduka, or Makarapa, or Magaraba depending on the areas they come from, would spend the entire year, working for the white man, only to go home in Mid-December and return to work in early January.
There are many humorous stories about some of the Makarapas who would not return to their homes to spend Christmas and the festive season with their families. Some would claim that their white bosses love them so much that they did not want them to leave for their homes. Others would claim that the white bosses trust them so much that they gave them their (the bosses’ house) keys so that they can have access to the house in order to feed the dogs.
But the painful reality of the situation is that almost 25 years after the dawn of democracy, many of us still engage on the long “trek” to Nyili, outside Ngqamakhwe, or Msinga, or Mukula in Thohoyandou or Dinokana in Zeerust, a place we refer to as “home”. Yes, many of us no longer live in single-men hostels but we live in houses in the townships and suburbs. But we still have a “home” in the Eastern Cape or in some rural area in the former Gazankulu. This is where we get buried when we die. This is where we hold our weddings. This is where most of our families live. Many of us are in Johannesburg or Pretoria, or Durban, or Rustenburg because of work.
The great “trek” to our “homes” is the reason why our roads are jammed throughout the festive season. The heavy traffic results in huge numbers of fatalities. There is also the annual ritual of politicians threatening to change legislation to deal more effectively with reckless drivers.
But should we not decentralise economic development? It is obvious that many people are migrating to the urban areas to pursue economic opportunities. A visionary government should be reversing this apartheid legacy by actively creating economic opportunities in rural areas. If there are economic opportunities in the rural areas, few people would “trek” to the reef.
In the policy documents of AZAPO, the Movement says an AZAPO government would ban migratory labour system. This was in response to the system of migratory labour under apartheid. Under the current circumstances, the creative ways of reversing this legacy of apartheid is to create economic opportunities outside the main urban centres. We need to eradicate the horror of the migratory labour system.
VOTE AZAPO FOR BLACK POWER
Given the extent of the abuse of power, levels of corruption, the poor record of delivery including the creation of jobs, the mismanagement of the economy and the general neglect of the electorate, it is understandable why an average voter would be a political atheist.
While the governing party would be the primary motive force in the erosion of public confidence in our politics, parties closer to the corridors of power have equally not covered themselves in glory. Countless politicians across the political spectrum have been found with their fingers in the cookie jar. This makes ordinary people to be sceptical about politics and conclude that politicians just want to use voters as a stepping ladder to access power and wealth for themselves.
The general retort from members of the public is that “politicians are all cut from the same cloth.” They do not walk the talk. They just make empty promises and never deliver. This attitude by voters contributes to voter apathy.
As we approach elections, AZAPO too must answer the question – why should voters vote AZAPO?
What is it that is different that AZAPO is offering to the electorate?
Before we address these questions, we should deal with the general frustrations of many well-meaning people. People argue that they are not happy with the governing party, especially in the light of revelations in the Zondo Commission. However, their biggest frustration is that there is no real alternative.
They argue that the biggest opposition party in parliament is essentially a refuge for racists and their stooges who are bent on postponing transformation of the economy and arrest the revolution in general. The other parties have no real political program of their own because they were formed by renegades from the ruling party.
Voters should be excused for thinking that many politicians are simply anything to get voted for so that they can have access to power and State resources.
Under these circumstances, the question is legitimate: why must people vote for AZAPO?
With all humility, as we have said in the past, AZAPO is not an alternative to any other party. AZAPO stands for the truth. There is no alternative to the truth. Let us simplify this statement. AZAPO is the only party that offers Black Consciousness (BC) to the Azanian people.
BC is a liberating philosophy that will locate the solutions of all our problems as the people of Azania within ourselves. The main objective of BC is the restoration of dignity of the Black people. When you have dignity, you respect yourself. When you have self-respect, you will refuse to be ruled by a European settler or non-whites who rule on behalf of settlers to advance European settler interests. In other words, AZAPO is anti-colonialist. AZAPO is anti-imperialist. AZAPO is anti-racist. AZAPO is anti-sexist. AZAPO is anti-tribalist.
The reason you see people who have State Power but who, after 25 years of getting that power, are still debating whether they should take the land from descendants of European settlers and give it to Black people is because they fear whites. They are victims of colonial education that tells them that you have to tread carefully and ensure that you do not upset the white tribe in whatever reform that you embark upon.
From the beginning, AZAPO has said Black man, you are on your own. This is the party that is the sole and authentic custodian of the aspirations of Black people. Vote AZAPO, you will be voting for Black Power! You would not need to lament “mabawuyeke umhlaba wethu….”
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !