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What is freedom?

18 June 2013, 12:45

We talk about, hear about and read so much about freedom. But what is it? What does it mean to be free? 


The opposite is slavery. What is slavery? Slavery is when someone else totally controls and dictates your life. So therefore freedom must mean dictating your own life, making decisions about your own life. This would also include becoming economically self empowered, and not relying on others for our economic welfare.


South Africans have a historical mindset of childlike subservience and believed entitlement for jobs to be created for them either by the government or by large companies. I would like to stress that this is not a racial issue, as this mindset crosses the colour line. 


From the white perspective during the Apartheid years, job preservation especially in government institutions was guaranteed for whites. Now the tables have turned and gone to the other extreme. In neither case, both past and present, was and now is, the ability, the qualifications and the track record of the individual of prime importance. Both systems were and are disasters, past and present, resulting in cronyism and rampant corruption.  


Since the ANC has come to power, their major chant for job creation has been to illicit investment from offshore companies and institutions, with disastrous effects, as both the Arms Deal Scandal and the E Toll have proved. Those on the extreme left believe that the solution is nationalisation of everything and a basic communist ideology. Both the former and the latter are disasters in the making. 


Corporate Fascism is slavery to a small group of controllers in the banking and the commercial sector who absorb all competition. Ask the Americans, it has destroyed their country. 


Communism results in a lack of competition, destroys individual innovation and gives a small group in government positions, absolute power and privilege. Ask the Russians and Chinese, it was an experiment that went badly sour. 


Both result in slavery, the former to a group of powerful men, the latter to a group of powerful men. They just wear different hats is all. In both cases a small body of powerful individuals totally control and dictate your life. In both cases you are reduced to child like dependence rather than adult responsibility and self empowerment. 


Proper training and education is imperative in order to create jobs, a growing economy and a healthy GDP. As the custodians of our education system, which the tax payer pays for, I would like to ask the following: 


1. Where are the agricultural schools teaching and training sustainable farming methods?  Why do we have to import chickens of all things, when chicken farming should be second nature as it has always been for thousands of years? Land redistribution is all very well and good, but what is it being replaced with? Certainly not productive farming practises that this country desperately needs to not only feed itself, but to produce for export. Proper education and training  would self empower land owners and give them the opportunity to contribute to society. Food production alone is a wonderful market for small business development freeing people from the concept of Corporate farming and genetically modified patented seeds. 


2. Why do we not have Hemp technical collages, not only teaching about growing hemp, but how to produce the many products that can be made and marketed from this plant? Again, this would result in self empowerment and small business development. 


3. Where are the technical colleagues teaching solar power? How to manufacture these panels, market these panels, install these panels and service these panels? Again, this would result in self empowerment and small business development. 


4. Travel through Africa and you will always find the local market, an area set aside for informal traders, usually a large, roofed, shed type structure with concrete tables within and toilet facilities. Where is the equivalent in our cities and towns? Informal traders are reduced to sitting on pavements and the side of the road, or standing at robots. They are squeezed out by concrete shopping malls. No facilities have been made available to them and if anything they are marginalised and discouraged. 


Our education system is not designed to teach people how to start and run their own business, how to be creative, how to become an independent self empowered creator of our own economic security, instead the education system, the media, the noises coming out of government all speak in terms of job creation that benefits big business and the top dogs in government rather than nurturing individual talent and abilities from grass roots all the way up. 


The family business that has always been a mainstay of society since time began, passed on from one generation to another, the butcher, baker, vegetable vendor, grocery store, cafe, the seamstress, the tailor, the local dairy, have all been bulldozed and thrown under the truck and gobbled up by the production line turning what once was a thriving self empowered middle class into slaves under a hegemonic economic dictatorship. 


Perhaps it is time to stop begging for investment from other countries to produce jobs in this country, and to rather invest in ourselves and our future by proper education and a programme of support and encouragement for those who want to make it and become economically independent. Given the education, opportunity, right tools and the facilities, South Africans can and will create jobs for themselves. 
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