Children should give peace a chance
When we demand services for our communities, we burn the little we have – like libraries, schools and police stations. When municipal workers take to the streets to demand better wages and working conditions, they turn cities upside down and litter the very streets they are supposed to keep clean. Striking truck drivers attack non-striking drivers and stone other vehicles – just to get their point across.
While we adults conduct ourselves in such an unbecoming manner – demanding what we need – our children are watching. And watching they have been. The action of pupils when they marched to the offices of basic education in Pretoria on Thursday is therefore not unexpected. While some of their demands were noble – healthy lunches, better scholar transport, and so on – their unruly behaviour is a cause for concern.
The pupils, who travelled by train from Soweto, Tembisa and Mamelodi, vandalised shops, robbed hawkers and pelted them with stones – and brought traffic to a standstill.
Their actions shine the spotlight on adult South Africans. What are we teaching our children? Are these the future leaders we want?
Would there have been problems if they had marched – peacefully – to the department’s offices, handed over their list of demands and returned home without causing havoc?
Hawkers and businesses that were vandalised did not deserve the wrath of these pupils. Such disorderly action must not be tolerated.
Pupils should behave in a manner that will allow them to look back with pride – able to say we fought for better education without attacking people who had nothing to do with our predicament.
There is a lesson here for the country: We can get what we need through negotiation. Our democracy is there for all to see.