Why go through all the trouble for education?
A lot has been said about education and furthering up studies; people going after PhDs are starting to trend and all other academic trends as well which paints a better picture for our society since more people recognize the value of education. However there still a negative talk and false myths and opinions about education. You will hear people saying those who study too much will end up going crazy; and some say education does not get you anywhere as many graduates are at home with their qualifications. That maybe true; but they stand a better chance of employment than those sitting at home without even Grade 12 certificate. We have people living by these words ‘education is the key to success,’ and those who say the streets and the world are the University of life and best teachers.
Public figures and Education
The same with everything else public figures used by society to measure the goodness and badness of something. They play key roles as role models to society and have a lot influence on the public stage. A question is: does education really that good and does it actually guarantee a path to success? I believe it does but first we need to discuss what kind of success we are talking about? Here we talking success in terms of personal freedom; career wise; living your dreams and fulfilling the wishes of that young kid you once were; being what you wanted to be as a young boy or girl before life got really tough. The success brought by education is simple; comfortable and to be honest comes slowly and requires hard work and focus.
The reason I say the success brought by education is simple and comfortable: look at this example, a teacher or a nurse have a house, car and a fulfilling job that. Those may not be flashy, expensive things; buy they symbolize success nonetheless. Then we have another version of success associated with lots of money, expensive cars, luxury houses and all the things rich people do. This kind of success at times comes with little or no education. This version of success sounds nice and sounds like a dream; but to be realistic we need to be honest and admit that not all of us will be your Kagiso Rabada, Caster Semenya, Keagan Dolly or Trevor Noahs of this world. Not all of us will win the lotto jackpot to become instant millionaires; so we have to do it the hard way which is education plain and simple.
A lasting investment
Once you educated no one can strip it off you; unless you forged documents or in future suffer from memory loss. Education is everlasting.
So the previous point highlighted the fact that education is timeless; it does not run out of time. To make an example using sports: your career can be cut short with injuries and all that; I am not saying people should not play sports; I am saying having a plan B, even if you are a business man or in entertainment have a qualification to fall back on. How many cases of former football stars in this country that after their career, they move back to their family homes broke? How many musicians have been buried with nothing left in their accounts; and the public have to donate in order to give them a dignified send off?
Success without education
Now let’s talk about successful role models; and their influence in our lives directly and indirectly. Let’s examine people who are role models and gained riches without education. First we have your “Mr fill up FNB” Casper Nyovest, the guy is successful and a true testimony of hard work. The former chief of SABC “90% local music” Hlaudi Motsoeng and lastly Kenny Kunene; these three men are role models to different people and yes Kenny Kunene is a role model! the man came from prison and hustled his way up to become a successful business man. They are living their best life with everything they desire and want at their disposal; an indication that your background does not always determine your success.
These individuals success unrelated to education. However their story will be unique like your story as an individual. Not every child who drops out of school will be the famous rapper and the same with the other men mentioned. They have made it; well you can say luck or connections or anything but they did. However ask yourself this: how many people from your township or your community who’ve made it without education? Then ask yourself how many successful professionals in fields like nursing, teaching, policing in your community?
You can be somebody with university education but that is not always the case. I believe that as you work hard in life things become easier; but that does not make them not difficult. It is just that when you work hard you adapted quickly to environments and situations. Developing an ability to turn what is complicated into something easy through hard work and dedication. So young people strive for education strive to be the master of your own fate.
Success with education
Now let us look at educated role models. In politics the intellect himself the EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. The outspoken creative soul sister Ntsiki Mazwai. The kwaito star Mzambiya and lastly the former Yo Tv presenter Musa Mthombeni who is now a qualified doctor.
These famous individuals have education some more than others. Ndlozi has a PhD from Wits; Ntsiki graduated cum laude on her master’s degree; and Mzambiya did something most people in entertainment would not do; he took a break from music and went back to finish his matric. So we have these people who are in the spotlight in their respective fields. They are young but they do not have the riches Casper or Kenny possess. They are not leading lavish lifestyles or drive a series of cars. But they have something that can never be taken away from them – education. They inspire young people and should be cherished for their work. They may not be driving around in Bentlyes or Lamborghinis however they have undiluted wealth through education.
Do not get this wrong education does not guarantee you fame and fortune but it offers you sustainable wealth and knowledge. Education is an escape route from poverty and other social ills that have plagued our great country.
Yes education is a long grueling process but worth it, the blood that you sweat will achieve for you a life worth living. We need more educated public figures to inspire the next generation. In this way we will produce a free thinking society that can solve problems and be innovative. No one born to suffer and no one born incapable. Education is oxygen, breath it and live.
Opinion piece by Dumezweni-Ndweni