Babazile Mntan’eDlozi, Bongweni
Random searches in schools by police is the first step toward normalising police brutality, enforcing fear among black people and turning black students into criminals – something they will never think of doing in “white” schools.
Random searches by police in black schools are just unpleasant. Rather, the various police stations in partnership with the private sector should adopt the schools and introduce developmental programmes to these pupils; police can train students how to drill. I was a boy scout in my youth and every young person enjoys performing the drill.
Not only that, the fire stations in our townships can also come in to give basic introductory training to these pupils who can even help in the event of fires which are prevalent in our poverty- stricken wards.
The army, the air force and the navy can do likewise to take these pupils for a day to their bases to introduce them to a world of defence.
Schools can introduce students to the world of performing arts like Chris Hani Secondary School teachers in Makhaza have done in moulding the character of pupils by taking them to places like the Artscape in Cape Town to perform in front of thousands of people.
I spent a day with these pupils during Gogo Madosini’s masterclass launch at the Lookout Hill organised by Calabash Storytellers’ Andrea SebeLabeNguni Dondolo.
The confidence, sense of identity and fire in the eyes of those Chris Hani pupils was amazing to see and it brought me close to tears to see such a beautiful picture because I knew right there, these are the leaders of tomorrow.
Children who knew the importance of their past to carve their future and Gogo Madosini was also eager and pleased to finally part with her esoteric indigenous knowledge and heritage of uHadi, iSitolotolo and uMrhubhe playing to them.
These are the type of initiatives that are needed in black schools.
These kids won’t find a reason to smoke, drink or be involved in gangs for they have been introduced to an exciting world of possibilities which we in the 80s never had the opportunity to experience or have been exposed to.
I am appealing to every government department, every sector of industry, institution, organisation and media houses like Vukani to adopt a school; introduce pupils to journalism, photography and the digital domain to develop future journos, writers, photographers and film-makers and after a year, we’ll look at the stats of the particular school for drug and substance abuse, late coming, dropouts, teen pregnancies, gangsterism and crime with the adopted pupils.
And I think we all know what the data will indicate.