The Star Late Edition
We need collective behaviour
MY first typing lesson at school was about familiarising myself with the keyboard, the space bar and the carriage release lever. The speed test caused me so much stress because of my failure to master the keyboard.
My younger sister was good at typing. She even majored in typing and accounting at Sebokeng College of Education. Before the advent of personal computers, organisations had typing pools, which were manned by typists. When the value shifted from typewriters to personal computers, the typist profession became extinct.
Polelo Mashigo thought she would remain a typist since she mastered the keyboard. She started her career as a freelance typist before she joined the Department of Basis Education as a full-time typist.
She never saw herself beyond the typing pool until she realised her profession was looked upon by some educators who had an inflated sense of their importance. She was taken to task for errors of omission and commission.
As damaging criticism was launched against her, she took a principled decision to pursue a teaching diploma since she had a natural appetite for education. She was encouraged by the words of the late British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, “Upon the education of the people of this country, the future of this country depends”.
It was through zeal and determination that today Polelo is a teacher at Gazankulu Higher Primary School, where she started off as a typist. She was encouraged to pursue the teaching profession by Mrs TT Dlamini and Mr J Baloyi. She was also strengthened by the words of Reverend Jesse Jackson, “If you can see it in your mind, feel it in your heart and have the will to do it, it can be”. Polelo is currently studying towards an honours degree at North West University.
Polelo do not have words such as “cannot”, “difficult”, “impossible” and “weaknesses” in her vocabulary. In a nutshell, she is strong-willed, and she has singleness of purpose – wanting one thing at a time.
Most people today lack the sense of resilience as aptly demonstrated by Polelo. When they are frustrated about load shedding, they end up barricading the road and destroying the road infrastructure because of the instant gratification mentality. When Polelo was frustrated in her career, she did not bang her computer; she decided to seek a viable alternative.
There is no short cut, no easy solution which can be applied to load shedding. Slogans will not wish this problem away, and nor will blaming our failures on any person or any group of our own people.
We have no alternative but to apply ourselves scientifically and objectively to the problem of load shedding. The brute force of our people's strength alone will not be sufficient to reach the top. The culture of vandalism and hooliganism must stop and must be replaced with the culture of hard work under all sorts of conditions.
Democracy does not mean that people must stop dreaming about the future, and the only alternative is embarking on collective behaviour.
The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp; that is to say when their neighbours and household are in bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. Victor Frankl said sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate to bear his cross. The poet Rilke wrote, “How much suffering there is to get through?”. There is plenty of suffering for the citizens of this country to get through. We must stop harbouring false illusions and entertaining artificial optimism.