By Andile Mngxitama
Driving through Soweto around 12am, I see hordes of matric hopefuls from the dysfunctional public school system gather around petrol filling stations. It’s a surreal picture. They wait for the newspaper. In between there are small groups forming around a cellphone. Shrieks of joy burst out. A young man hits his chest walking around asking all what’s his name. Then a girl hollers and jumps waist high on to someone. Its a buzz …
Then you look carefully and realise the terror in the eyes and body demeanor of most of these people – the silent and the uncertain; the resigned and the defeated. One kid is holding a beer bottle, drunk as hell. I think, self medication. The one girl says “let’s go home” in the most resigned fashion. The other girl is leaning on her uncle’s car. Waiting. She is hopeful.
I stand there amongst them. Few notice me and nod. An uncle or father greets me from far. This is a mix of celebration and mourning. The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) children sleep peacefully the night before the results are released.
I refuse to think about what will happen to those who make it. For those who don’t, it’s generally the end of the road. They disappear into the 10 million discarded by Stellenbosch – unemployed and unemployable.
I drive away defeated. This country murder the future of its black children.
We must do something this decade!
Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.