“Some Children Are More Equal Than Others” [moving documentary on SA Educ]

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Today Stefan Gottfried released his short documentary on education in South Africa, aptly named “Some Children Are More Equal Than Others.” I came into contact with Stefan last year when he was working with the Legal Resources Centre. It happened to be at the same time I was visiting mud-schools in the Eastern Cape late last year (blog post here). The documentary was produced on a shoestring budget but clearly conveys the tragedy and anguish of hundreds of thousands of parents in South Africa. The motif that runs through much of the documentary is that the low quality of education offered to the majority of South Africa’s children becomes a poverty trap and prevents any form of social mobility. It reminded me of something I wrote 2 years ago:

“While the low-level equilibrium that South Africa finds itself in has its roots in the apartheid regime of institutionalised inequality, this fact does not absolve the current administration from its responsibility to provide a quality education to every South African child. After 19 years of democratic rule most black children continue to receive an education which condemns them to the underclass of South African society, where poverty and unemployment are the norm, not the exception. This substandard education does not develop their capabilities or expand their economic opportunities, but instead denies them dignified employment and undermines their own sense of self- worth. In short, poor school performance in South Africa reinforces social inequality and leads to a situation where children inherit the social station of their parents, irrespective of their motivation or ability. Until such a time as the Department of Basic Education and the ruling administration are willing to seriously address the underlying issues in South African education, at whatever political or economic cost, the existing patterns of underperformance and inequality will remain unabated” (from here).

Although I see the tragic education stats on a daily basis, it really hits home when you see the pain and anguish of black parents who see and understand that education is the route out of poverty for their kids and are trying their hardest to get their children into “good” schools but failing at every turn. Watch the documentary and ask yourself “What can I do to change this tragic, dangerous and deeply unfair situation?”

5 responses to ““Some Children Are More Equal Than Others” [moving documentary on SA Educ]

  1. Stefan Göttfried

    Thank you so much for sharing my film here Nic. The fact that it reminded you of something that you wrote a while back is no coincidence. I came across quite some of your articles during my research. Those have been highly vital and I really hope that you keep up your good work!

    • Hi Stefan, Im watching your documentary 3 years later and am moved by it. I have a campaign called Educate the Nation and would appreciate if there is some way in which i can incorporate snippets of your work to get the message across. Feel free to email me.

  2. This is really very great indeed,the facts remain as they were and they have been very useful and of inmense importance,well done for the very beautiful job.

  3. Hi Nic,

    What are your recommendations for actions that the average citizen can take to address these issues?


  4. I believe (as a soon to be retired bookkeeper -currently doing training as volunteer reading helper) that ALL South African high school learners should be encouraged (or maybe instructed) to volunteer 2 (two) hours of their time per week, to helping a child in their neighbourhood/local school/ local library/local church, etc etc ….. We can all make a difference in the life of an individual needing help with reading, etc. It takes commitment to volunteer and our learners need to be taught at high school level the meaning of “commitment”.

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