Blog

enke Alumni in #Education, 1

The youth of our country have the ability to create change. They are standing up for what they believe in. Our vision as enke, is to create a global movement of young people who are taking action on the world’s most urgent social issues. #Education is one such issue. Young people are mobilizing and working to create the future they want to see for Education in SA.

enke has been moved and inspired and we continue to be as we see moments that are shaping the history of South Africa. enke will be sharing the thoughts, experiences and transformations, that of some of our alumni are involved in actively creating in their communities.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” ― Aristotle

These words by Aristotle have rung true for me from the moment I stepped out of the shadows of tertiary education and into the light of the adult world. Alright, being an adult isn’t that bad, I cannot really compare the dark to university and the light post university life, but I can definitely say that leaving the university world behind, has opened my eyes to the wider world of being an adult.

#EducationMy journey into teaching was a long one – I first studied Law. My mother (a saintly woman who has taught for almost three decades) had persuaded me to abandon my plans for teaching at the end of matric in 2010. Her exact words were: “You’ll never be able to survive on a simple teacher’s salary”. She wasn’t being pessimistic, she wasn’t being materialistic either, my mother and father were working class people – she was simply being realistic. By the end of my first year in law school I knew it wasn’t for me and I persuaded my mother to let me go into Education. I loved every second of my university experience. Okay, that’s a lie, I hated the long nights, the hard work and the never ending projects and assignments. But it was all towards a goal – becoming a teacher. The day of my graduation, April 1st 2015 (I feared that it was all an elaborate April fool’s joke and that I would have to repeat first year Philosophy), was one of the proudest moments of my life.

At the end of my degree I was fortunate enough to find a job at a small Cambridge school in Johannesburg. I fell in love with teaching all over again. Every lesson was worth the years of hard work in University – I was finally where I belonged after years of uncertainty over my career choice. This was my place, my shtetl as they say in Yiddish. I went into teaching because I had a love for knowledge, for learning and for sharing that knowledge with young people. As a Trailblazer and later presenter at enke: Make Your Mark, I realised that knowledge is not a solid concept, it is a fluid one. I saw with my own eyes at enke, that knowledge is shared through experiences, through laughter, through life lessons, but most importantly, knowledge is shared through the ability to connect.

Connect. Equip. Inspire.

These words will reverberate within my life, forever. I have seen with the students I teach, who are all above the age of 13; that through connection within the system of education, passing on to them the equipment of knowledge and inspiring them to the best of their ability, will truly breed a new generation of youth that will break the mould of Education in South Africa. Enke gave me what I needed, it taught me that everybody has a place and that within your place, you can change your society. Hence I became a revolutionary, I became a new breed of teacher.

Jarrod DelportRecently I was told by a parent: “You are different. Weird. Borderline eccentric, but it works”. It took a while to digest this. I wasn’t offended – I took it as a compliment. Long gone are the days of writing out line after line of textbooks and learning in a parrot fashion, dates about long-dead people. I’ve marched up and down my classroom like a Nazi, in an attempt to show students how crazy the whole idea of Nazism actually is. I have stood on tables to discuss the importance of eating a balanced diet (yes, I was balancing on one leg) and I have sung sonnets to express the beautiful words of Shakespeare.

I am a ‘different’ teacher by some standards but I am proud to say that in my first full year of teaching, I did not have a single failure in the six classes I taught in 2015. I think I’m doing something right. Education across the board, does not necessarily consider the individual. To me, it seems that some schools are built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. At Charter College, I have been given the space to grow, to learn with the children, to laugh with them and to be serious when needed. I wish every teacher could have what I have. My school is open and inclusive, a place where teachers take the journey of education with their students, it cannot be taken alone, it must be done together.

South Africa is going through an educational revolution, things are changing fast. Young people are taking their education into their own hands, they are writing their own destinies, but they need help. Young South Africans and young people in general need guidance, knowledge and assistance in achieving their dreams. People should not become teachers because it is a fall-back job, they should become teachers because it is their passion, it is their reason for living – to share knowledge, to guide and to cultivate a new generation of South Africa’s leaders. My life is dedicated to education, for me, this is it and I am content with the role I am to play in the lives of young students. Education needs to change, our young people are not receiving the level of education they should, but perhaps with the right teacher, the right motivator and the right combination of skills, we could revolutionize education and set ourselves apart from the world. Let us move towards making school fun, towards an equal education for all, one that will build an army of dedicated students who will wage war against inequality and apathy.

“It’s time for an educational revolution”
By: Jarrod Delport

Jarrod-Delport

Youth Leading Change: Views on #FeesMustFall , 4

Over the last few days, the youth of our country have taken action. They are standing up for what they believe in. Our vision as enke, is to create a global movement of young people who are taking action on the world’s most urgent social issues. #FeesMustFall demonstrates young people mobilizing and working to create the future they want to see.

enke has been moved and inspired and we continue to be as we see moments that are shaping the history of South Africa. enke will be sharing the thoughts of some of our alumni involved in the movement in universities across the country.

“The atmosphere is largely not what the media describes. It is one of peace, unity and pure passion for a cause that deeply affects us all, and the way in which our country is handled. On the ground, protesters march together, sing together, hand out food and water and make posters together. There is no acknowledgement of race.

Until things get rowdy. Unfortunately the frustration is too much to bare for some and they vandalize property or break off from the major group, to perform actions that are frowned upon by the whole group. This where the media has focused. Not on the cooperation and harmony. This is what causes retaliation from the ever-present, riot-ready police.

I was at parliament when the police retaliated. I was affected by what I saw. I can’t say which was more terrifying; hearing those grenades go off- one by one, the sheer mass of people running and screaming or seeing unarmed pedestrians unknowingly walk into the street and feeling traumatized from the shots they heard. Or was I traumatized when I saw some policeman laughing or refusing to help prevent primary school students onto the street.

As horrifying as it as to see, it definitely cemented my belief in the cause. Officials cannot sit idly when people are risking their careers and well-being for their right to education. This is multi-faceted issue that has been brewing for years. The time has come to meet it directly. Aluta continua”

Laeeqa Allie

University of Cape Town

#FeesMustFall

Youth Leading Change: Views on #FeesMustFall , 3

Over the last few days, the youth of our country have taken action. They are standing up for what they believe in. Our vision as enke, is to create a global movement of young people who are taking action on the world’s most urgent social issues. #FeesMustFall demonstrates young people mobilizing and working to create the future they want to see.

enke has been moved and inspired and we continue to be as we see moments that are shaping the history of South Africa. enke will be sharing the thoughts of some of our alumni involved in the movement in universities across the country.

“Every fiber in my being wants to write this in Sepedi so as to express the frustration I am feeling right now. But that would not reach the audience this frustration is directed towards.

I am so disappointed in the adults who grew up under the apartheid regime. They have belittled this protest and its protesters as a bunch of ungrateful black children who feel entitled to everything. This week’s events have definitely put the spotlight on “your children will be born free” nonsense our parents were sold back in 1994. That bubble of dreams is about to burst.

You purposefully choose to focus your attention on the FEW students that vandalize and destroy property, instead of the underlying reasons for these protests. Even though I do not condone such behavior, vandalism during protest action, is not unique to South Africa. Stop acting like you are in utter disbelief that such a thing could happen.#FeesMustFall
Don’t tell me that the timing is really bad, or why can’t we just talk to management?
Year after year the SRC bodies all over the country sit down with university management to plead on our behalf against the ridiculous annual fee increments, but to no avail. These ‘discussions’ always happen behind closed doors with specific timing (towards the year end examinations) so as to deter students from fighting against this. And then, some of you have the nerve to ask why only now? Those who claim to be ‘inconvenienced’ by these protests should just sit down. When have the needs of the few ever justified outweighing the needs of the many?
I for one would have much rather written my exam on the scheduled date. However, I fully understand the principle of this protest and postponing exams by a week or so, is a very small sacrifice for the ideal that education should be accessible to all. But how can it be accessible if one cannot afford to pay for it. We know education comes at a price, we know that. We just do not understand why it is at a price that actively excludes a certain demographic.

This has been going on for years, even before most of us were in high school. The only difference is that the class of 2015 have fully grasped the concept of ‘the power lies in our hands’. For years, young people post ’94 were told that we are apathetic and that we suffer from a severe case of entitlement. As we have witnessed over the past few days, the class of 2015 has risen above political affiliations, race and class to protest against an exclusionary practice. The outcome of which may not even have immediate benefit to them. The class of 2015 has identified who the antagonist in this story is- our government. Universities cannot and should not continue do business in this oligopolistic environment. Our government should have stepped in a long time ago by increasing its subsidies or implementing some sort of regulatory structure, to curb these unjustified fee increases year on year.

Even with all of this said, reality is that I will still be missing my December graduation this year because… wait for it… I cannot afford to pay off my outstanding fees. And you tell me you still don’t understand why there is a protest. My education is not a privilege, it is my right!

#FeesMustFall #FeesWillFall #InOurLifetime

As for mainstream media, they have proven once again that they cannot be trusted. Such one sided stories!”

Maite Rapetsoa
Cape Town

Youth Leading Change: Views on #FeesMustFall , 2

Over the last few days, the youth of our country have taken action. They are standing up for what they believe in. Our vision as enke, is to create a global movement of young people who are taking action on the world’s most urgent social issues. #FeesMustFall demonstrates young people mobilizing and working to create the future they want to see.

enke has been moved and inspired and we continue to be as we see moments that are shaping the history of South Africa. enke will be sharing the thoughts of some of our alumni involved in the movement in universities across the country.

“I don’t have full, coherent thoughts on #FeesMustFall yet; but this is what’s on my mind as I witness what’s going on.

I believe this issue is of deep significance for everyone in the country. Access to education and skills training is crucial for a developing country like South Africa. Given our mineral wealth, much needed economic growth and the current abysmal lack of access, does justify this deep, overwhelming expression of anger and rage from students. The results of this social action impacts everyone.

The decolonization of university spaces is especially important. This involves ensuring that the many facets of higher education are fundamentally changed so that they benefit more people in our country. The training of our economists, doctors and engineers must explicitly ensure that the injustices of the past are resolved, and all parts of the country participate meaningfully in the economy.#FeesMustFall
……..
This is not new. Colonization officially ended 50 years ago and since then Latin America, South East Asia and many parts of the world have had to fix up centuries worth of problems created by their (and other people’s) ancestors. It has happened. The world is still roughly intact today. We must learn from this. We already know that the world need not work in one way only. We can change it if we need to. The details of funding higher education and how to rework our economies can be found in studying this history.

I support the protest. I support the strong push to ensure that the powers-that-be change how they relate to students and deliberate on student issues. The top prize would be more radical openness about the universities’ expenditure. An unveiling of details of finances and plans that determined how the fee increments were arrived at, is this prize.

We are all tense. We are all deeply affected in various ways. I can imagine myself in the shoes of those who seem to be on different sides of the issue, but I believe justice is on the side of those who have been historically disadvantaged. The best long term solution is the one that allows more students to afford university education. We must allow people to express themselves in a way that resolves their frustrations.

I think most of us are committed to justice. Solving this issue will need those on the privileged side to reflect on where the protesters are coming from- usually abject poverty or precarious middle class advancement post 1994. We must not be dismissed as ‘entitled’. It is precisely because we put in hard work and sacrifice to get into and succeed at university, with the risk of it all collapsing to naught through financial exclusion and being unable to pay fees, that we will not be dismissed. That’s why many protestors are angry. In addition, the traditional media has failed to give nuanced reporting on the overall nature of the protest- peaceful, forceful yet thoughtful. We, as normal protesters can critique the details of how we do things and importantly, we do. That’s a good thing.

In general, this is going to require that those with power and influence, like our student leaders and those who influence them, find a transparent reasonable compromise, taking care to weigh up all reasons and considerations. We need to move quickly to the goddamn details- “the best long term solution is one that allows more students to afford university education” is going to involve sacrificing many things we value about university. If we must have less green lawns, and slash the public event catering budget, so be it. Wits is brown and concrete-dull anyway. But pushing a hard-line position on everything will not solve much. Every day this goes on, we precariously wait for someone to do something foolish- be it a student, member of the public, policeman, anyone- to ruin everything. We should be hastening towards a resolution.

Protesting (and some populism) is not incompatible with #FeesMustFallthinking. I know many of the protest leaders and organizers at Wits personally. They are protesting emphatically while thinking deeply about how to make sure the protest opportunity is not a wasted opportunity. They are attempting to ensure that the protest does not degenerate into anarchy, and the academic progress of protesters is not destroyed. Most of the leaders I know, no matter what they say in public and (more importantly) no matter how it comes across, want the most reasonable solution.

In this spirit, we must be in solidarity because we are all on the same side in terms of the general cause, while beating the hell out of each other intellectually. This means being brave enough to challenge each other’s assumptions and plans of action. Challenging what we think is the best solution. Having divergent views in the movement. Making sure that we also deal with these other important issues like patriarchy and misogyny within our politics.

The protest space can be transformed into something beyond Jam Alleyist singing & sloganeering (which is really fun, ngize ngijuluke nami), but a space where we also robustly and sincerely debate about the status quo from all our schools of thought.

We need to take a running leap in order to cross this gulf of realizing that there will be sacrifice, but it is in our power to determine the details, so that we find the best decision for all. Look- structures, systems and “the masses” are all ultimately people. People have thoughts, beliefs and feelings which, with tenacity and selflessness can be influenced for the good. The solution involves some pain in some ways, but for the good.

As I said, messy. But we can think clearly and usefully, while expressing the rage at injustice we are entitled to feel.”

Bandile Ngidi
University Of Witwaterstrand

2013 enke: Make Your Mark

Contact Details:

7th Floor Heerengracht Building
87 De Korte Street
Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg

 

Phone: +27 (0)11 403 1241/3

Fax: +27 (0)86 563 2544

Email: more@enke.co.za

Latest Tweets