It takes more than money to create a world-class graduate - Wenzile Madonsela

2016-04-12 15:33
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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2016-04-13 10:30

Wenzile Madonsela speaks at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.WATCH

Johannesburg - It takes more than just money to create a world-class graduate, University of Pretoria student Wenzile Madonsela said on Tuesday.

The private sector needs to look further than just providing funding to students who qualify to study at universities, and make a bigger contribution to society by acting a bit more selflessly, she said.

Madonsela - who is secretary general of the EFF's student command at the university, as well as Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's daughter - was speaking as part of a panel discussion on the Fees Must Fall movement at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg.

She said it was time for South Africans to come to terms with the uncomfortable conversation which the Fees Must Fall movement had sparked.

"The reasons why we have a 20% graduation rate in South Africa are non-academic reasons... They are reasons such as transport, food [and lack of] sanitary pads."

She mentioned female students, who often missed a significant part of their school academic year because they were on their menstrual cycle, as well as students who came from very poor backgrounds and had a limited access to food, accommodation and transport.

"Students who are sleeping on campus, they have no access to anything besides what is at the university," she said.

"They leave home excited with hope, the hope that they are going to break the cycle of poverty at home... but no one looks at the surrounding circumstances that they have to endure during this journey."

Madonsela urged South Africans to look beyond throwing money at the situation, and to rather tap into their emotions.

"We need to invest more of ourselves as human beings, as people who form part of such a beautiful society.

"We need to make ourselves uncomfortable if it means compromising your lifestyle, if it means going on the ground, going to Kuruman, to Tzaneen, going to Giyani, seeing what is the hindrance between them and success, them and excellence, and identifying that.

"Yes, the obvious answer is money, it is more than money. It is reinforcing the idea that, as South Africa, we have the capability to be great... but how are you going to do that when you are not creating graduates?

"Those graduates aren't being created because we are neglecting them, we are not giving them a chance, we are stealing their dreams. We are thieves, we are a nation if thieves."

South Africans needed to see the true value of investing in a child, and Madonsela urged fellow citizens to make a positive change, in their own way.

"We just need to look into ourselves and do something, act positively, make a change, leave something of yourselves here. A little bit less selfishness and a little bit more selflessness.

"Look into your hearts and say 'What can I do? What haven't I done before?'"

Read more on:    eff  |  wenzile madonsela  |  university protests

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