You have to say it and try and sound like a 13 year old:
“It’s a democratic country and you can’t make me to do it!”
I imagine that would have been my response to my teachers if I was being forced to say an oath every day in school.
And ironically I would have been right… I would have been zit faced and snot nosed, but I would have been absolutely, categorically, right! In a democratic state you can not force anyone to recite a statement of beliefs, especially in the form of a promise to that state, against their will.
Your age does not affect your democratic freedom and I’ll tell you why: The ANC Youth League.
The ANC Youth League was founded on the ideals that the youth of South Africa were powerful and wanted freedom from the oppressive state. Kids are also easily radicalised and will cause untold shit if they all band together and you don’t listen to them.
And so it is unfortunate that we have let those radical ideals of freedom slip away from us to the extent that some people in government think it’s a good idea to institute a compulsory oath to our schools.
Imagine if they wanted to add this compulsory oath to the workplace. Imagine if every morning at 11am everyone in your office had to stand and recite a promise to uphold the constitution and forgive the past injustices… I’m trying not to swear here, but let me just say that most of us would be very very very pissed off and would probably end up rioting on the streets. One of the core precepts of a constitutional democracy is that you have the right to challenge that constitution.
Why should children be treated any other way?. If I had a kid in school today I would tell him that he can recite the oath if he wants, but he could, if he wanted to, recite my oath:
Hey, when else am I going to be able to legitimately add a picture of Natalie with a gun to my blog?
â€œWe the youth of South Africa, recognising the hotness of Jessica Biel, honour those heroes who shape our porous minds like Tony Hawk, Steve Jobs and Natalie Portmanâ€
â€œWe promise to argue with our parents about music, play video games and score chicksâ€
â€œWe sincerely declare that we shall eat Nandos, Bunk School, Watch too much TV, Sneak our dad’s alcohol out of the house on a Friday night, Spend way too much time on facebook, Tell our dad’s we love them occasionally, Try our best not to be fat asses and most of all, always be kief to other people.â€
Now that’s an oath… These are kids. The injustices of their past is that yesterday the DSTV wasn’t working.
THE WHOLE F-ING POINT OF THE STRUGGLE WAS THAT OUR KIDS COULD GROW UP WATCHING DSTV INSTEAD OF GETTING SHOT IN THE FACE IN SHARPVILLE!
SO why the hell is the government making 6 year olds say “We the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past…”? I hope like hell that those kids don’t recognise the injustices of their past, because that past is disgusting, filled with oppression, police brutality, racism, exploding packages ripping people’s limbs off their bodies in their own houses, incarceration, children being shot in the back, unfair education policies, segregation, heroes being murdered and a whole lot of other stuff I’d rather my kids learnt about properly, at the right age, than have flippantly wafted in their faces every day.
This makes me pissed off.
Oh, and remember that radical freedom movement, The ANC Youth League? Well, guess what they want to do… Yup, you guessed it. They want to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays… I shit you not. The descendants of the actual heroes who actually got shot in the face for the implicit freedoms of this country now want to introduce a law that has been proven to only really affect the poor and UCT students, and has nothing to do with morality or alcoholism.
I suggest this. How about the ANC Youth League members, those who joined because they want to uphold the ideals of the group, not buy alcohol on Sundays.
10 thoughts on “THE WHOLE F-ING POINT OF THE STRUGGLE WAS THAT OUR KIDS COULD GROW UP WATCHING DSTV INSTEAD OF GETTING SHOT IN THE FACE IN SHARPVILLE!”
Love that more appropriate oath you came up with 🙂 Pahahahhaha
So what is the right age to learn about the injustices of the past?
I don’t like the proposed oath either. It focusses on negative things from the past, instead of positive things from the future.
JP, not at 6.
I think education is always about age appropriateness. At 6 I can tell you that it’s not nice to be horrible to people who are different to you.
But I’m not going to tell my non-existant 6 year old that in 1960 white policemen shot and killed black children because, well, basically because they were black; I run the risk of that child being confused and upset, not only by the violence, but also by the notion that people like him did such horrible stuff to people just like his friends in school.
I am not for a second suggesting that we shelter our kids from the past… I actually want our past to be more aggressively taught in schools. BUT, it has to be age appropriate and it needs to be done solemnly…
An oath you recite 11880 times because you *have* to is not solemn and runs the risk of becoming a mockery.
The oath does not say that in 1960 white policeman shot and killed black children because they were black…
In fact all it says is that that our country has a history of injustice, and that in future we want to uphold the rights given to us in our constitution. Which in slightly simpler terms, though not by much, pretty much means, In the past our country was horrible to people who were different from you and now we believe that we should be nice…
and I personally can’t find anything wrong with that.
People should remember, no matter what age, that injustices were done in the past.
Is your problem the idea, that after saying the pledge, your child might come home and say, “Daddy, what injustices were done in the past?”, and you might actually have to answer?
Jonx, you seem to be missing my point repeatedly… The content of the oath is fine — if it is something that is not mandatory and that the children understand. A 6 year old doesn’t understand or know what the injustices of the past are. If asked I would definitely tell a slightly toned down version of those injustices, but I would also definitely educate them and continue educating them with age appropriate material as they grow up… However, I would hope like hell that my 6 year old is too busy running away from girls and playing soccer to be worrying about those injustices.
Plus, like many others have pointed out, why not focus on the positive future?
I am all for focusing on a positive future of course, but ignoring the past, well without constantly remembering the past we become deemed to repeat its mistakes…
I just can’t understand why it is wrong for children to know this country has not had the best history? It does not make sense to me.
For the record I have a soon to be 5 year old (10 March) and I can tell you that she would neither understand nor care about any oath, to her it will be a bunch of words that she has to stand up and say every day.
I know this because she told me this evening that they sing the school song every week in assembly, so I asked her to sing it to me and guess what …. she could not! “I don’t know mom but when the other kids sing it then I can remember it” so I asked her what it means to her and she looked at me like I was totally mad and promptly changed the subject! Siobhan is actually a bright kid and very aware of what is going on around her but after a couple of months of singing a song at school it means nothing to her!
So really don’t stress too much guys. I think that the kids may take something out of saying an oath every day but certainely not at age 6. I will reserve my comment until I actually see the oath and depending on the content will then join the debate.