PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
The Last Contrarian
 
Comments: 6
Article views: 195
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all The Last Contrarian's badges.
 

The First Freedom

22 January 2013, 09:04

The First Freedom

by: The Contrarian

Education is an ongoing blunder in South Africa and possibly the nation’s greatest embarrassment, says the ardent and outspoken unofficial News24 critic, The Contrarian!

I’m not the only one whose face turns red with shame when the Matric pass rate goes up. Like most I reflect on how much the standard must have gone down to generate this misleadingly optimistic upward trend in the statistics. At the core of education is language, which is the conduit by which knowledge passes into the mind of the student. Later on, through language, the educated are to impart their minds' creations to an unsupportive world.

Contrary to the enduring fallacy, the wheel was not our species’ greatest invention! Our language actually is, and that was what allowed the wheel’s inventor to pass his genius on to others. This process started (and dominates) human civilization. It therefore also has the power to stop our civilization in its tracks.

If you reflect the advances Homo sapiens have made, you may notice language underpins it all; for the moment we invent something new, we have to explain to someone else how to build it cheaply and then to others why they should buy and use our invention. Language is the conduit for society’s advancement, and I think we should all start taking our speech and writing a bit more seriously!

If any other animal but humans had access to sophisticated language, then the sparks of genius of a few members of the tribe may actually become the culture and history of new generations—a bedrock, if you will, on which they can build even more impressive structures. That is the only mental faculty separating us from our cousins the chimpanzees; it is most definitely NOT the supposed divine fart-cloud permeating our body, the soul, which has never been demonstrated to exist and is only believed in by the more primitive element of our species.

Language, to me, truly embodies the intellectual’s creed, “You can imprison my body but not my mind!”

A surprising medical fact is that language is frequently the only memory that shines through the fog of amnesia. You can wake up after your traumatising accident and remember nothing of your former life, but you’ll be able to converse with medical staff, relatives, and friends with the same fluency as you could before your accident. I think that shows us just how deeply seated language is in us. It is literally hardwired into our brains.

Language is our first freedom and empowerment. It is only once we can talk that we can truly articulate our needs and commands. Only when we can speak sufficiently well can we can tell our parents and our caretakers that we are hungry, not tired, or bored, not thirsty. The outcome and success of every negotiation and explanation you will undertake will depend largely on your mastery of language. Later in life, the first pickup line you use on a crush of yours may subsequently rid you of the virginity condition, or force you to endure it for longer.

But there are those for whom language is but a malformed or shriveled-up appendage that serves more as a handicap than an actual advantage.

The ANC’s ranks largely comprises of the unlettered and the confused. Thus, most South African’s have come to accept the tardiness and oversight that plagues South Africa’s education system. Textbooks are not delivered on time (or at all) to certain schools; the ANCYL illiterati warn teachers to look for the underlying comprehension in the students’ confused scrawl, because English may not be the pupil’s first language. But how else will we teach the masses of the advanced concepts that cannot be described or explained in less sophisticated or less precise languages?

You may think this is a moot point and merely the obsession of an English grammar Nazi, but I’ll prove to you how important this point is by directing your attention to a past vocalisation of Julias Malema (the then president of the ANCYL—now a garden worker). Who can forget when he unequivocally stated—during the athletic world’s reflection on Caster Semenya’s gender ambiguity—that he does not believe that hermaphrodites exist because there is no equivalent for that word in his native language.

What’s next, a president that says he does not believe in democracy because the word did not originate in any African language? It may later transcend language and become a cultural excuse, as was so beautifully demonstrated by our former health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who would not allow treatment for AIDS victims because in her opinion, traditional African medicine was so advanced it could with beetroot and potatoes cure any diseases!

I can’t reasonably think that she actually understood the World Health Organization’s reports and documents regarding the progression of HIV to AIDS and the then latest advances in antiretroviral treatment. Reading with comprehension is a lot different from just reading.

Like economic poverty, linguistic poverty can severely limit a person’s mental exploration and discovery. I don’t think people realise just how foolish poor language mastery can make them seem.

1337 (pronounced ‘leet’ a dyslexic version of ‘elite’) Speak may be fashionable on twitter or in an SMS conversation with your pals, but those are the only two domains where one can (and even should) use contracted and mutated English. The moment you take that dialect and put it on your CV or job application that is when you look like a 4chan moron in heat! It is not so much a case of there not being work for the youth as it is a case of there not being work for the illiterate youth!

If one cannot construct complex sentences, then one cannot think complex thoughts and the first step to solving a complex problem is to mentally dissect it and accurately describe its components. Think of every time you tried to explain something complex to someone and found yourself unable to convey the message. To the observer you may appear to not understand the subject yourself, but perhaps it’s only your inability to articulate your thoughts properly. We all hit a blank every now and again, but for some people the blank is the dominant state of consciousness.

If you take anything away from this article, then I hope it is this: As much as you can, fight the urge to use clichés! The media and marketers have brought their colourless, vague, and imprecise use of language to the masses. The consistency these two pillars of linguistic sterility claim is but the result of them imbibing what they had vomited up before. This process constitutes the dimly lit torch that journalists and marketers use to shed some light on whatever subject they wish to reveal to their audience. I can’t remember when last I felt a piece of advertising or media scribble impart on me the sense that an intelligent and well-educated being was the author thereof.

Finally, dismiss the opinions and advice of grumpy, old teachers and librarians. These self-appointed custodians of our language have lost their relevance and influence. While they swoon over outdated poetry and overly loquacious literature, they overlook both the ongoing evolution and academic accuracy of language. We must make it a priority to reclaim our language from the bitter, abusive, bespectacled old hags of grammar, spelling, and punctuation! Sexual abstinence is not a prerequisite to mastering a language, and the wooden spoon and rod are not tools suited for imparting literacy to the youth. Perhaps it is this mentality of blikseming (beating) an education into students that is to blame for so many growing up and hating knowledge in its totality!

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Craig Pedersen
The man who destroyed the police

I shall mourn the passing of an institution that once served with pride and dignity. Read more...

40 comments 9940 views
Submitted by
Al Lovejoy
The View From the Scrapyard

I am gainfully employed in the Waste, Recycling and Scrap-metal Industry. Or, as the title implies – I work in a scrapyard.  Read more...

12 comments 1465 views
Submitted by
Nenzi Nens
Look at yourself, not the foreign...

There are foreigners in countries all over the world, legal and illegal. No citizen has a right to get those foreigners out of the country, only authorities. Read more...

0 comments 198 views
Submitted by
CatCrazy
Pet Ownership - Dear Godless Heat...

People’s ignorance at their pets requirements, and the responsibility involved has becomes evidently clear in this country. Read more...

25 comments 428 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.