The rocky road to my African Dream . . .

It’s a strange, strange world we’re living in master Jack . . . (so the song goes sung by a group called “Four Jacks and a Jill” many years ago)

As I sit in the sun on my stoep and read my newspaper(s), I’m shocked (but not surprised) by what I read . . .

Service delivery by our government:

• 520 civil servants convicted for embezzling R28million

• the number of parliamentary questions asked last year has increased by nearly 12% over 2010 – from 3,879 questions to 4,333 questions – according to our current Deputy President.

• 6 provinces running short of drugs (HIV/AIDS)

The ANC successfully organises a march in protest of a “painting” . . .

• A 17 year old mentally challenged girl was gang raped and the video went viral. NO ONE MARCHED.

• An 8 year old girl was raped by a 15 year old boy and her eyes gourged out. NO ONE MARCHED.

• Entire provinces are without school text books – it’s almost June. NO ONE MARCHED.

• A man convicted of raping, drugging and intimidating a girl has had his conviction and sentencing set aside because a magistrate had not followed proper procedure in taking the girl’s oath. NO ONE MARCHED.

. . . and still no one is marching . . .

A report compiled by the Department of Basic Education, released earlier this month called “The Annual Surveys for Ordinary Schools for 2009-2010” states that:

• In grade 3 alone, about 109 pupils fell pregnant in 2009 – as opposed to “only” 17 in the same grade in 2008. In grade 4, the number increased to 107 from 69 in 2008, and in grade 5, 297 girls fell pregnant in 2009.

• The highest concentration of pregnant pupils was in high schools, from grade 7 – 9. In 2009, a total of 45,276 girls became pregnant.

• As many as a million children grow up without a father, and many others depend on the extensive social grant network for financial support.

According to Professor Kobus Maree, a lecturer in educational psychology at the University of Pretoria, the grade 3 pregnancy rate is “appalling” and “deeply upsetting”. A large number of these children become pregnant because of rape and abuse.

For all the children who fall pregnant in grade 3, how many rapists are actually prosecuted, charged and sentenced?

Prof Maree continued to say that teachers he spoke to felt that the teaching of Life Orientation has been dumped on them without adequate training. He said that pupils in the higher grades often got pregnant to qualify for social grants. The 2,813,976 children receiving grants in 2009 increased to 3,110,688 a year later.

Although government has to take much of the blame for this, parents are also responsible for not giving children sufficient support at home.

Prof Maree also said that although the government had allocated a large chunk of its budget to education, incompetent and complacent public officials were not delivering educational infrastructure and other resources.

What has happened to my African Dream?

Is it all “pie in the sky” that will all only happen after I die?

Am I dreaming an impossible dream and fighting the unbeatable foe?

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