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Failing the Failed

20 March 2013, 18:29
This may seem like old news but those who claim to be the voices of the man on the street are very seldom representative of the man on the street. The media apparently plays the role of watchdog on behalf of society while also setting agendas to engage society in critical thinking that promotes responsible citizenship.

However, while watching a current affairs show that is supposed to raise a generation of radical future leaders, I was quite disappointed that the show hardly encouraged meaningful debate nor did the future leaders display a good understanding of the very country they are meant to lead. Furthermore, the moderators or judges did not probe the contestants enough to draw out meaningful solutions to the problems they were trying to address.

This is in no way a criticism of individuals but a mere example of the many not-so-provoking thought provoking productions we anticipate and then get disappointed.

Firstly, there was the usual blame shift with some contestants clearly demonstrating that if put into power, they would allow personal agenda to cloud their judgement. Secondly, the lack of convincing arguments which often left the judges choosing a winner for a debate based on the little substance they salvaged was disappointing.

Whether the selection of contestants was the problem or if this is a true representation of South African youths is another question but one shudders to think that we might have leaders in future who bring very little to the table but hot air. This is in no way a generalization but a simple observation that perhaps there is need for the media to set agendas that promote critical thinking rather than slander and futility.

At present, South Africa is home to over 3.5 million orphans and in less than two years, the number will increase to over 5.5 million, predominantly orphaned by Aids. While the debate focused on fostering better relationships between parents, teachers and learners to give education in South Africa  a face-lift, very little was said about how orphans in the educational system will be incorporated.

The majority of those being failed by the system are often the underprivileged and above all, orphans and vulnerable children who are characterized by the absence of a reliable parental figure. If truth be told, how often are these individuals engaged in the process that leads to decision making.

I do not discount the fact that once in a while we get a somber clip of starving children and destitute orphans but how often do we see them being allowed to speak up about the problems they face as well as suggest solutions to a problem they understand better than anyone else? 

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