JONATHAN JANSEN | If all our children aren’t safe none of us will be

Without a solid education in caring schools youngsters will end up on the streets wreaking havoc

03 March 2021 - 19:29

I have a soft spot for stations such as CCFM and Radio Islam because they bring a spiritual dimension to complex questions in education. Towards the end of an interview with the former last week, one final audience question came through to me as the guest: “Where do I enrol my child when the schools all say they are full?” My instincts told me this question required more context for a helpful answer and so I asked the host to give that mother my cellphone number so she could call me. The distraught woman had no airtime, but managed a WhatsApp message for me to call her back. That was when the drama started.

The mother moves around, sleeping wherever she can find a couch for the night. The father was felled by a motorbike accident. After some probing questions, I discover the boy has been in rehabilitation (dagga, “not him, his friends”) and his academic rap sheet was not great (“it’s actually much better now”). The mother sends me a picture of a beautiful, wholesome boy. Out of school...

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