Today is world #literacyday.
A day which should be celebrated with real enthusiasm and interest and vigour by every citizen of planet earth – an earth where progress and advancement is celebrated, and where reason and intellect are nurtured and valued for the positive benefits society reaps.
It’s a fact of nature that when we raise our young minds to blossom, like so much canola in a springtime field, amazing things happen for all of us. But no…
We celebrate Manchester vs Liverpool and shower performers of physical activity with riches and fame, openly professing, by doing so, that we prize the body instead of the mind.
And so no one even bats an eyelid when our leaders openly lie to each other, and to us – and why should we when it’s all just a game in which we celebrate winning at all costs, instead of inclusivity…
Ndumiso Ndima Ntshinga, Ambassador of South Africa to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa in 2013, utters this bullshit at a UN meeting.
“South Africans, who only 19 years ago were subjected to discrimination and oppression by their minority apartheid rulers, today reaped the benefits of freedom and reconciliation, including a well-developed civil service”
This man clearly inhabits a different planet than me.
Our civil service is in shambles.
Incompetence, laziness, complete disregard for discipline, systems and structure, a total inability to grasp the individual’s role in the country’s bigger picture, nepotism, corruption, the list goes on and on.
In all sorts of metrics it’s brazenly clear that management is spiralling out of control.
Something is very wrong with the way we’re marketing “team south africa” to the people who occupy the civil positions. As we weather the current barrage of blatant food-trough plundering by our nation’s “fathers”, I can’t help but wonder – surely human beings cannot be so wantonly evil that they openly “will” themselves and their young ones and whole societies toward oblivion?
Now, I’m actually not talking about the leaders and elders now, but further down the chain, towards middle management and coalface operations of all branches of government – what if these people don’t know the definition of oblivion? What if they don’t know the definition of success?
I’m not a government expert, nor am I a management guru.
My skills lie in marketing, and it seems to me that people don’t know there’s a bigger picture, and therefore they can’t comprehend how important their role is, and therefore, they have no inspiration or reason to be motivated.
I know that’s a lot of jumps of logic in one sentence, but just follow with me for a second.
What if, no one is explaining to our civil servants, how each one’s role, well executed, makes it easier for citizens to trade and to do life and business, and therefore makes it easier to generate value that can be applied for the benefit of us all, with taxes at every turn, while keeping us competitive in a global world?
What if, once you’ve removed the openly corrupt members from the pool, the remaining civil servants are actually just like Frodo?
What if they just can’t think further than the shire?
What if they don’t know there’s a world out there which we must jointly work towards staying afloat in…?
Or what if they do know there’s a world out there, but they just aren’t being inspired to strive towards it?
Seems to me there must be more we can do to explain, remind daily, and/or inspire.
The alternative, simply sitting back and throwing our hands up in the air and letting it all collapse is frankly illogical.
Unless of course it’s going to interfere with the game on the telly…
For those of us able to digest and willing to engage with these words – Happy Literacy Day to you!
For the rest, and in particular those who couldn’t care – may the odds be ever in our favour.