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Editor's Blog

A Nation Of Addicts!

The South African government continues to let us down, big time! It boggles the mind that after the new dispensation in 1994, we continue to witness regression from time to time, which steals away from the good that has been achieved. 

This is by no means a political opinion, but we all know that whenever there are more than one people around, politics exists. The government has to take full responsibility for the abolishment of school sports, especially in black schools. Our kids are no longer actively involved in sports at school except for the few who are lucky enough to have local club commitments. Locally, there are mostly not enough sporting codes to choose from and if you’re not into football, you’re in trouble. Back in the day, there used to be school sports days where different sporting codes would be catered for and that went a long way in shaping the kids’ future and behaviour. This played a major role in the upbringing of the kids because school wasn’t just about the books but extramural activities as well. That helped to balance things out in their academic year, knowing there is time to study and time to play sport. After all, as they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. 

A learner’s typical day would start with a prayer in the assembly, classes, sport activities, homework, local team training, going home, bath, have dinner and go to bed. There was no time for them to be idling around, roaming the streets with no direction. A number of these kids were identified for different sporting codes, including art, through these school sports programmes. This gave them something more to focus on other than their academics. You look at today’s kids, they go to school and as soon as the final bell rings, they’re gone and will have the rest of the day to themselves. They have too much time on their hands and, subsequently, almost every corner has a group of young minds doing drugs or smoking. This behaviour does have a knock-on effect on the community because instead of raising future sports stars, we are actually raising a nation of addicts! We are raising a nation with no future.

Not every learner is going to get a distinction or an exemption at the end of their Grade 12 to pursue tertiary education. Not all of them are going to become academics, so having different sporting codes increases their chances of becoming decent future citizens. There has to be something for them to look forward to and that’s where the different sporting codes come in. Sport has played a significant role in the upbringing and discipline of those who were lucky enough to go through it from as early as possible during their schooling years. There is no sport without discipline, which forced them to sleep, eat and drink sport and education. Now, not only are we in trouble because of lack of sport at school, even the educational aspect is not where it is supposed to be and that’s because of a number of different reasons and you wonder if we are ever going to get it right again? Are we going to be able to stop the rot, at any given time, or is it a lost cause? Learners get bored easily because there’s no positive distraction to their academic programmes. This leads to frustration and dragging their feet going to school, whereas with sport, there’s always something to look forward to and keep them interested and entertained. 

Very few black schools still play sport when we all know how important sport is in developing our youth. Sport is not only important in developing the individual’s behaviour but the community at large. Sport gives hope and challenges one to always look to improve. It also broadens one’s horizons should they not make it academically. Now, without sport, if they don’t excel in their education, they then throw the towel and give up on life. The bottom line is that not all of them will make it past Grade 12 or even pursue tertiary education. However, sport makes sure that what they lack in education they make up for in their preferred sporting code. When there’s nothing for them to do, no options, then there’s only one option left and that’s alcohol and/or drugs. Through the abolishment of school sport, we are unwittingly killing and destroying our youth because they don’t have lot of options and it becomes easy for them to fall into the social traps.

When we played school sport, even tasting alcohol would be the last thing on our minds because we were always very conscious of what we put into our bodies. The desire to become the best was always the driving force. We invested so much in our fitness that we wouldn’t dare do anything to jeopardize it. No self-respecting athlete eats or drinks everything because of the effort they put into their fitness. That’s the level of discipline that stops you from doing anything stupid and without it, then it becomes easy to go astray. When you look at legends like Doctor Khumalo, Tebogo Moloi and many others, you will realise that it wasn’t just because of their parents or connections that they made it in football. School sport paved the way for them because they were spotted at school sporting activities and their lives were never the same after that. They have achieved a lot through the sport they love the most and surely that’s every learner’s dream to one day see themselves doing something they love as their profession. There are so many similar cases to that of Doctor and Tebogo because scouts would flock school sporting grounds whenever there were activities, in search of raw and young talent. We have robbed the current learners of such opportunities by doing away with school sport and we wonder why we have so many drug addicts in our communities. 

Whenever these young boys’ and girls’ futures get destroyed, it is not just about individuals but their families and communities also get affected. A destroyed individual affects the family and ultimately the community. That’s when you hear of break-ins at schools, churches and even libraries, which was unheard of back in the day. These institutions were protected with everything the community had, but gone are those days! We understood and appreciated the value of education back then, but these days, even drug lords are role models to the youth. Together with government, we all need to take responsibility for this and ensure that our youth have enough sporting options at school level. By stopping school sport, we’re giving these young ones a licence to kill themselves. 





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