It was with utter rage and disgust that I read the article “Voter education plan ready for 2014, dd. 2013-08-19 18:02.” Mind you it was not actually the futility of the plan, nor the BS quote: “on-the-ground campaigns with communities, partners and strategic stakeholders to promote and increase knowledge and understanding of the 2014 elections".
No! It was also more than the fact that we have had 20 years to have on-the-ground campaigns. More than the non-forthcoming explanations who exactly the partners and strategic stakeholders are. We have had this phrase bandied about since 1994 and certainly we are not talking about killing bloody Dracula either!
No, what pissed me off was the truth inherent in a post in response to the above article: “I'm pretty sure 75% of voters are unable to be educated. Lets be realistic now.” Let’s, (correctly spelled Mr. White), forget the probable attempt at hyperbole, sarcasm, wit or any other reason for the comment. Let’s look at something else that I was researching just before scanning the news headlines.
South Africa has a huge burden of disease, fuelled by a range of risk factors, and morbidity (illness and disease) and mortality (death) figures are high. This is shown by the results of the first South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES), a comprehensive health and nutrition study that yielded critical information on emerging epidemics of non-communicable diseases. This, as per the HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council), launched by HSRC’s CEO, Prof Olive Shisana and the national Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaled. http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en
In addition to this it should be noted that the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), now estimates that a staggering 1 in 88 children, including 1 in 54 boys, in the United States has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Another recent federal report presented data that autism prevalence among school-aged children, as reported by parents, is 1 in 50. An Autism Speaks-funded South Korean study, which used a more rigorous methodology, found a prevalence of 1 in 38 students.
Nearly one in five American teenage boys is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, marking a dramatic rise in the past decade, the New York Times reported. The newspaper compiled the data from raw figures provided by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which took a phone survey of 76 000 parents from 2011 to 2012. The report said that 15% of school-age boys in the United States have received an ADHD diagnosis, compared to seven percent among girls. Among those aged 14 to 17, the rate was higher: 19% for boys and 10% for girls.
The above two paragraphs are relevant to a country that has a 1st World Health System, access to proper nutrition and nutrition programs, with probably close to the eating habits and obesity levels of South Africa. South Africa has a poor food security record; South Africa has a record of people going hungry home and to sleep. South Africa has a +/- 400% worse record of unemployment than the USA. So why should one assume our nutrition levels would be better?
It is a fact that malnutrition and poor eating habits (including inadequate micro-nutrient and vitamin intake), do not make for bright children. We know that South Africa has a poor educational system and even worse student performance against the already poor standards. We know that correct nutrition and nutritional intervention can make a difference in the overall intelligence and educational performance of children.
We also know that this is very much the reality for children diagnosed somewhere on the Autism Spectrum of that particular Disorder. I am not advocating that all children are now suddenly ASD patients.
What really put sand in the mousse is that South Africa wants to fix voter education in a few months, when they could not fix it during the past 20 years. And these attempts exemplify the general disadvantage our children have because we could not fix their nutrition during the past 20 years.
But the worst of all is that we are still trying to raise awareness for Autism, when other countries are fixing it, (or at least attempting to do so). And while we are at it, we fuck it up totally!!
With ASD and general malnutrition making our children under performing, our parents not having a clue what to feed kids, and an education system based on ideology instead of equipping children to cope in a 3rd world that have to, (like or not), send some to 1st worlds for education and training to bring back much needed skills and expertise; do we need:
A war in Bangui
Submarines and Frigates rusting in harbour
Corruption, Nepotism and Cadre deployment in Government
The costs of Violence, Rape, Murder,
Racial exclusivity and yes;
PS. I make no excuse for my language. Each hungry child is an admission of our incompetence and failures.
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