The Apartheid mentality of saying ANC voters are uneducated .

2013-08-28 22:34

For two following days I involved myself in a political debate with my friends as I always do. This time we were on each other’s necks about education. Some argued that the ANC is keeping the masses uneducated so they will continue voting for them. This is not only wrong but also an insult to the majority of this country and the constitutions that grants us all South Africans the right to vote for whoever we choose.

Whenever we speak about these issues it’s important to remind ourselves about our history. With it, we are able to judge and make informed decisions and judgement about both the future and the present. Its highly unfortunate that they are some people who want us to forget history and not talk about it as all simply because it is discomfiting to them.

Voting in South Africa did not start in 1994 but started in 1910 under the establishment of Union of South Africa. Then, there were two interests or what today we would call political parties; one, the English Colonial Territory and the Afrikaner republic. Only white men from both these interests were able to vote.White women would later join in 1930, but the black majority had to wait.

Since 1910 Black South Africans were denied the right to vote simply because they did not have the right skin colour. Their black skin meant that they were less human, less intelligent and unable to make an informed decisions or vote for a government of their choice.

It was leaders like Helen Suzman who with an apartheid mentality advocated for only black "educated" men to vote. These black men had to have at least Standard 7 of education.

But the National Party even objected to this, the assumption was that black people were not intelligent enough to vote. They had to be educated first. But because the education they were getting they could not be equated to whites and therefore can not vote.

Education was used as a tool to suppress black people. It was the Minister of Native affairs Hendrik Verwoerd who said.

There is no place for the Bantu in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour ... What is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice? That is quite absurd. Education must train people in accordance with their opportunities in life, according to the sphere in which they live”

It was important then for the apartheid government to use education to ensure that blacks remain unequal to whites.

That they never do the same kind of jobs but remain subjects to the white apartheid society.

By 1982, the apartheid government spent R1211 on the education of a white child, R771 on and Indian child, R498 on a coloured child and only R116 on a black child.

As a result of these conditions only 41% of all black students passed the secondary school final exams in 1991 which is a requirement for university entrance.

The same year 96% of all white students 95% of all Indian students and 83% of all coloured students passed the exam.  Also the literacy rate is less than 50%, while the white literacy rate is 100%.

Each year in the late 1980's South Africans primary and secondary schools enrolled about 5,370,300 blacks; 1,032,100 whites; 847,900 coloureds and 246,700 Asians.

No one can deny that Bantu Education was extremely bad for a black child. And it was done for one reason; just to oppress blacks so they can’t have the same privileges with whites. And those privileges included voting.

The apartheid government thought they would exclude and limit the ability for blacks to think with this kind of system.

They thought by not giving black people education they won’t know the system was wrong and they won’t be able to revolt against it.

But although a large number of black people were denied the rights to education they knew that apartheid was wrong and continued to revolt against the unjust system.

It was not educated Harvard scholars who brought apartheid to its knees. It was black women and men who chose to make their “uneducated voice” heard. They did not have a degree but bruised hands that  were working in mines, gardens and kitchens of their bosses who were silent of the apartheid oppressive system.

It did not take a teacher to know the apartheid government is wrong. It took their social and economic conditions. They saw apartheid was wrong when it killed their husbands and children. They saw it was wrong when it gave them inadequate education, poor health, no jobs and subjected them to extreme levels of poverty. No one needed a degree or diploma to see and know the National Party was oppressing them.

It was the first democratic elections that everyone was able to vote. Blacks including women got a constitutional right to choose a government of their choice.

The constitution of South Africa did not and still does not stipulate that one has to be educated first to vote. It recognises that people are equal, with or without education.

The assumption that the only reason that people are voting ANC is because they are not educated is not only wrong but an insult to other fellow humans and to our constitution.

People did not need education to know apartheid was unjust and wrong. They certainly won’t need education to know the ANC is wrong.

They will do exactly what they did to the apartheid government. It was Nelson Mandela who said

“If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.” 

The people Nelson Mandela told this too have not experienced an apartheid kind of government. If they do experience it, they will vote ANC out.

There is nothing I hate more than someone who thinks someone is less human, less intelligent and less informed by having different views to them.

This is the case for the opposing and its supporters, they insult, assume and make incorrect statement about the majority that vote ANC simply because they are on the other side.

It is all our duty to protect our democracy and protect each other’s rights. One of those is the right to VOTE.  And people’s rights (including those in the ANC) must be respected.

As a matter of fact, when people went to the polls in 1994 there were worse of in terms of education or literacy. Its only after 1994 that things improved for the better.

Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, education is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of seven.

.According to Census 2011, the percentage of people aged 20 or older who have higher education increased from 8.4% in 2001 to 12.1%. The number of those who matriculated increased from 20.4% to 28.5%.

Those who had no schooling at all decreased from 17.9% to 8.6%.

The functional illiteracy rates – that is, people 15 years old and over with no education or a highest level of education less than grade seven – have dropped from 31.5% in 2001 to 19.1% in 2011.

Poorer rural provinces, such as Limpopo and the Northern Cape, have cut their functional illiteracy rates by almost half to around 25% since 1996.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Report for 2011, South Africa has a literacy rate of 88%.

For the first time in 2012, the number of black graduates exceeded that of their fellow whites mates.

It’s not until the ANC government came in power and open the doors of education that South African literacy rate increased.

Suggesting that the ANC is keeping the majority uneducated is just an assumption that cannot be factually proven.

It is not until the opposition gets to understand why people VOTE for ANC that maybe they could be trusted. For now, they don’teven try to understand. They assume and insult the same people they want to vote for them.

Some of the comments in this blog will ignore these indicators and carry on to assume that the majority of this country which is black is still uneducated and because of that are unable to make a good judgement.

Their sentiments will not be different from the Helen Suzmans who said only blacks with Standard 7 should be given a chance to vote. Insulting those without education by insinuating they are less intelligent and should be stripped off their right to vote. Its paining to see people in the new South African using the same argument against the majority that was used against the Apartheid government.

Now its so sad, that even the black people who were denied the right to vote because they were "uneducated" throw the same insults. Calling for the  "uneducated" people not to be given the right to vote, like the National Party did.

Read my blogs on why the majority keeps voting the ANC here, not that I would ever be able to capture it all in a blog or I know it all.

Esethu Hasane is a final-year student at the University of Cape Town in pursuit of a Degree with Majors in International Relations, Public Policy and Media. Follow him on twitter @Esethu_u and respond to his article.


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