For many years now the United States of America has been at the forefront of everything; be it in business, education, technology, politics, film industry or simply bombing countries they do not like. Despite all their hypocrisy and unrestrained blood thirst tendencies, the United States has been ahead with something that most of the other global countries have not exactly been paying attention to, especially the developing world. This is why after all these years this global economic powerhouse still commands respect as the world leading country in almost every aspect of life. What is their secret you ask; it is their vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship. While others around the world study hard so they could gain a degree and work for some corporate company, those in the US are dreaming of starting their own businesses. Taking orders from some sexually frustrated boss, who happens to sleep on the couch all because his organ of love gave him the co-ordinates of another woman’s bedroom, is not their idea of living. Life to them is more than that.
Now a very curious and progressive mind should be wondering where Americans get this aforementioned spirit. This spirit is owed to their immaculate education system and I am not particularly referring to their prestigious tertiary institutes. I am looking at the grassroots level, where most eyes would not care to look; their basic education. It is common sense that for a house to stand it has to have a solid foundation. The New World invested in their basic education and that is why an American kid can bypass college as they call it or drop out of university to pursue their dreams. It should not surprise you that David Karp, founder and CEO of Tumblr dropped out of high school to start his own business. His company was bought in May 2013 by the Internet giant Yahoo!, under the leadership of the delightful Marissa Mayer for a whopping $1.1 billion US Dollars. With our emotional Rand trading at approximately R10 against the American dollar these days, that amount should equal R11 billion; enough to build our ‘honourable’ reverend from Nkandla more of those African styled hotels.
Lately back here at home I have been noticing a sudden interest in empowering the community with entrepreneurial skills, focusing particularly on the youth. I have to say this is commendable although government is still dragging its feet in realising that entrepreneurship could boost our ailing economy and also help resuscitate our emotional Rand. Indeed we have the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) but they have been lately making news for all the wrong reasons. A friend of mine recently approached them but was discouraged by a lot of hoops he had to jump before he could focus on his business. And the fact that some of the staff masked their lack of knowledge with attitude did not help the impression he already had about government and its employees.
Note that to fly the Chinese or any foreigner into our country, so they could tell us what the problem is with our economy, would not only expose our lack of imagination but would also confirm the age-old stereotype that Africans are stupid. Our basic education system is hanging by the thread and the only thing the minister does to justify the lack of performance in her department is vehemently deny that she is doing anything wrong. Her counterpart in the Higher Education department – the President decided to split the department into two. As to why this was done, only our imaginary supreme being in the sky can say- is most of the time found dressed in red communist clothing, screaming and shouting at those who dare criticise his boss’ lacklustre leadership.
If South Africa could take itself seriously and start investing in the education system, the tag ‘Africa’s economic powerhouse’ would be deserved. The kids should be given quality education from the grassroots level, thus when their minds hatches ideas they are immediately explored without doubt or fear. The ideas are there but the lack of confidence and quality education suppresses them. Innovation should not intimidate, it should be supported.
Entrepreneurship is the driving force of the American economy and education is at the core of that force. If memory serves me well a bunch of our so called ‘celebrities’ tried their luck at reality television, in fact some are still doing it. I noticed that a trio of Barbie dolls has a show currently running on the local channel Etv. If one believed in the sham that is piety, I would be tempted to shout like those ignorant Americans: ‘God bless America’. Reality television was packaged and sold to us as a sign of progress and modernity, and new methods of measuring excitement had to be invented; because our excitement at this new prospect had exceeded normal measure. Now if we can be excited at such outrageous ideas like reality television, why can’t we react with the same energy towards entrepreneurship? I would suggest that Minister Angie Motshekga and Minister Bonginkosi Gabriel ‘Blade’ Nzimande put their extramural activities on hold, put their spectacles and focus in the classroom and the lecture room respectively. There is a lot of work to be done. Kgotsong!