Never mind the returning schoolkids. The folks at Sadtu are sad too

Spare a thought for the functionaries at the teachers' union as they face another hard year of destroying our children's futures

17 January 2018 - 11:58
Soweto pupils relax at a local park while their teachers are away on a Sadtu march. The teachers' union is coming under increasing scrutiny.
Soweto pupils relax at a local park while their teachers are away on a Sadtu march. The teachers' union is coming under increasing scrutiny.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

There were floods of tears this morning as little Spike was buttoned into his blazer and handed his lunchbox.

“But I don’t want to gooo!” he sobbed. “The kids are so horrible!”

“Spike,” said his wife, “you’re a 45-year-old shop steward in the largest teachers’ union in the country. Now act like it!”

“I am acting like it!” he howled, throwing himself down on the floor and thrashing about. “This is basically Sadtu policy!”

Euphoria knelt down next to her husband and patted his head as he pulled a cheese wedge out of his lunchbox and glumly ground it into the carpet.

Euphoria stroked Spike’s head. 'Baby, think of the positives! Thanks to Sadtu and the Education Department, only 20% of South African kids can read that report!'

“Baby,” she murmured, “you do such important work. Unions are essential in a democracy. Collective bargaining prevents teachers from being exploited and abused. And nobody should be exploited or abused.”

“Well, except for children, obviously,” added Spike. “And teachers who want to commit counterrevolutionary acts like teaching. And any class enemy who demands that teachers should have their competence tested regularly.”

“Exactly,” said Euphoria. “Just think of the chaos our education system would be in if Sadtu wasn’t at the vanguard, protecting our children from upsetting things like dignity and knowledge and future employment!”

“But everyone hates us!” said Spike, his lip quivering. “That Ministerial Task Team report said we had captured education in six provinces and were selling jobs for cash!”

Euphoria stroked Spike’s head. “Baby, think of the positives! Thanks to Sadtu and the Education Department, only 20% of South African kids can read that report!”

“True.”

“And as for selling teaching jobs, well, isn’t that how all jobs work in this country? You buy your kid’s future job by sending them to an expensive school! The more you pay, the better their job!”

Spike sat up and blew his nose damply into his sneeze. “Thanks,” he said. “I’m feeling 100% better now.”

“An Education Department 100% or a real 100%?”

“The first one.”

“So you’re feeling about 50% better?”

He nodded, and Euphoria dabbed a small blob of mucus off his lapel and kissed his forehead.

“OK, my love,” she whispered. “Time to go. You don’t want to be later than the other late shop stewards, just in case you’re so late that you’re early for tomorrow and then people think you’re elitist.”

“Thanks, babe,” he sighed and headed for the door.

“Honey!” she called after him, and he turned. “Remember our motto!”

“’I believe the children are our future … meal ticket.’”

“Amen. Love you, baby.”


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