Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fathers and roots of failure

I have changed my mind about South Africa’s greatest problem.

It is not unemployment, crime, mass poverty or educational collapse – although it is closely related to all of these.

It is the failure of South African family life.

The South African Institute of Race Relations, the best source of facts about our country, recently published statistics about the South African family.

They are horrifying. In 2007, only 34% of South African children were living with both parents; 23% were living with neither; 148 000 households were headed by a child of 17 years or younger.

In 2006, more than 72 000 girls left school because they were pregnant. Unemployment leads to poverty and crime. Lack of skills, due to educational failure, leads to unemployment.

So unemployment, crime and poverty all result from education failure. As any teacher (including me, in five years’ of teaching) will tell you, the most important determinant of a child’s educational performance is not the school but the family.

When children grow up with a mother and father in a loving, disciplined family, they are likely to succeed. If they don’t, they are likely to fail and join the ranks of the unemployed and the criminals.

Apartheid may be blamed for much of the disintegration of the African family. But it has become worse in recent years. Aids must be blamed for the high death rate in young women. But it cannot explain why fathers refuse to support their children.

All traditional cultures, European, African and Asian, and all great religions are a combination of ancient wisdom and ancient prejudice towards women. They are all patriarchal and all have the disgusting belief that menstruation is dirty. But in their wisdom they drew up codes to foster family life and protect women, especially young women, from sexual predation by men.

The ancients regarded it as a scandal for any woman to have a child out of wedlock. In South Africa today, we have kept ancient prejudice and discarded ancient wisdom.

In the rural areas and townships, schoolgirls are impregnated by older, richer men. The most wicked degradation is when teachers impregnate their pupils. These girls are doomed and so are their babies.

In speeches on Women’s Day, we do not need to be told how many Cabinet Ministers and chief executives are women.

We need to be told why so many children don’t know who their fathers are.

3 Opinion(s):

Leifur said...

This is exactly the truth, and can much more explain differences between whites and black than any notions about inherent superiority based on genetics (at least historical, although centuries of acting according to social norms, like Christianity did compuls white people to do, can and does influence genetics).

So in the end the Apartheid regime failed to use the opportunity to compuls western standards upon the blacks (and maybe even more importanty the coloreds) instead of letting them grow in numbers over their head and grow up in a welfare society of a sort, with free healthcare and the like given to them.

Many poor Afrikaaners are probably also results of too generous welfare system during Apartheid.

No ill will,


Anonymous said...

Mek bebbies.

Exzanian said...

Gospel according to Ali G....In SA