I have undertaken a solo motorcycle tour around South Africa where I visited some schools and community projects in all provinces.
I learnt a lot on my travels and my biggest worries were further confirmed; learners do not have an idea of why they are at school. They do not plan beyond the current day. Throughout my visits, I was saddened to realise that learners do not know what they will embark on after matriculating. I came across grade 12 students, who were soon to be engaged in their final year exams, who had not planned anything for when they leave school. This lack of interest has become so endemic amongst South African learners that schools are busy producing unemployable and uninspired matriculants.
These learners need to be taught the importance of discipline and responsibility. They need to be more involved in their communities. The country needs good quality learners to be injected into our institutions of higher learning with a long term view of strengthening our economy. We will not be able to get there if the current state is allowed to go on in perpetuity. Change needs to happen and it is needed desperately. Our levels of unemployment are unacceptable; we need to help Government where we can.
I visited community projects, some of which were launched as far back as 1994 and are still at start-up stage. I noticed that no matter how good an idea one might have, without the proper training, support, inspiration, guidance and vision; these projects will never become successful. The reality is that, without help these projects will fail, further fuelling the unemployment and poverty inferno.
In my book titled “Lessons from my tour” I wrote:
“It was in Mabopane that I got to learn early on in life about how negativity formed the cornerstone of being black growing up in a township; I have now grown to detest this stark non-truth and I wish to change it. Another fallacy was that whites were superior in every way and that black people will remain subservient to the Caucasian master. Subliminally, I was getting trained how to be negative and to accept it, I was getting taught to accept that I am inferior and that I will never be able to rise to any notable heights. Adults could regularly be heard saying; “Go lela ga go thuse” (it is futile raising a concern as nobody will listen). To this day there are people who can be heard reciting this, either as a formed habit or as a way to escape facing the challenge to succeed.
I acknowledge that apartheid never touched me physically, but it seems that the damage done to me psychologically is as harmful; this from the inferior quality of education to decisions made about what I was good for. Though no longer a reality, the ghost of the apartheid state continues to haunt people; it will take a positive mindset to be freed from this prison of negativity.
In my adulthood, I have had to learn to fight against the indoctrination of negative thoughts and I have had to ask myself:
- Why do people choose to be negative?
- How did a minority win over and control the majority?
- Why are people filled with self pity?
- What is the root cause of a culture of entitlement?
- Why do we not take charge of our own destiny?
- Why do we keep blaming others for our failures
- Can all this be reversed or corrected?
Granted; apartheid was designed to divide, conquer and rule through fear. It was engineered to make other races to feel inferior. It was meant to imbue the combined strength of a united society. It was suppose to leave a lasting legacy of self loathing and helplessness.
The first democratic elections in South Africa ended Apartheid rule but its effects can still be felt. Though deep seeded, this negativity can still be reversed and people can be empowered to reach for their dreams and to succeed. It all starts with accepting that the shackles are psychological and that it will take the mind to unlock them. A radical mind does not just happen, it has to be built. Like you were trained not to believe in your abilities, you can also learn to rise to the challenge of achieving greatness.”
— Thurston Sebotsane: “Lessons from my tour”
When I embarked on this initiative, to travel the country, which I aptly termed: THE POWER OF ONE; I wanted people to witness how, when an individual chooses to make a difference, he will be able to move others to action and how that action will carry a reciprocal and contagious effect.
Anyone can change and it is possible to succeed when you put your mind and heart in it.
— Thurston Sebotsane (Inspirational Speaker & Life Coach)