Why education must be a priority for black South Africans


ON THE 1st OF MARCH 2012, I STARTED my career at Accenture as a Business Analyst. It’s a great environment and not surprising that they received the Best Employer Award in 2010/2011. I must admit that I felt very special, being taken care of and given great food. The benefits of working for Accenture are so incredible to a new college graduate. Seeing all this, what came to my mind was that had I not put a little more effort from secondary school, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The road has never been easy: hard work and commitment drove me here rather than natural ability. What makes things even more complex is that I’m from an uneducated family. If I was a child of a doctor or a professor, I’m sure I would have been a better student, but limping as I was, I kept on walking.

Walking in the corridors of Accenture, I saw a framed piece with all the photos of Senior Executives. 97% of them were white. Why? Well we might reason differently, but trust me, they are there because they know the work and they are highly qualified.  They went to better schools, worked hard and achieved exceptional results. They are highly skilled and are driving the country’s economic activity.

The fact that we black South Africans have limited representation in these positions isn’t because of racism but because of a shortage of skills.  Although the legacy of apartheid is largely to account for this, today opportunities abound for black people. We need to move on. What we need to do as black people is to focus on education and motivate our kids to become successful. Malema’s approach to these problems was wrong; he expressed hatred on the basis of race rather than addressing the weakness of his masses. Nationalization and seizing agricultural land is not the answer: In Zimbabwe farms were given to key Zanu PF allies while ordinary people remained poor. Taking such a route will culminate in instability, and we don’t need that. We don’t.

The fact is that as long as we are not educated we’ll continue suffering. Even that guy who some of us ridiculously believe will elevate the poor, the government, will exploit us by building us open toilets. What’s even more mind boggling is that we continue to vote for the same political parties, which shows how ignorant we are. Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. If you are uneducated, you are jobless, vulnerable and likely to be a victim of those who seek political gains.

Let’s focus on education and provide resources that will grow our kids intellectually. All this requires stable, well-functioning government that advocates a free market system with pro-growth fiscal policy to enable a thriving market economy. But it does not end there. As individuals, we need to commit ourselves and work hard. As I said at the outset, I’m not smart, but more hard work and commitment drove me here. PM


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