As we begin the new year, I am more confident than ever that the work we do is urgent, critical and can rescue the future of South Africa as a country. Our work as the Global Teachers Institute (GTI) focuses on creating a new brigade of young transformative teachers who will in turn serve as agents of positive social change in rural and township communities in the country. These new teachers are socially responsible and are purveyors of the values of ubuntu, honesty, hard work, love and care. My personal experience towards the end of 2022 showed me that the movement to make South Africa a better place cannot be delayed. In fact, we need to move with speed to reach as many young people as possible so that they can leave the life of crime and other anti-social behaviours. Education is the surest way to achieve this goal.
Here is my story: on the 24th of November, robbers entered my home at around 2pm – yes, in broad daylight! Three fierce looking young men, probably in their mid-twenties to early thirties, derailed my home security gate and gained access to my house. They forced my seventy-two year old father-in-law and I to lie on the floor while they stole some of our home property. Thankfully, my wife and children were not at home during this ordeal. I am also grateful that the robbers did not harm us physically. I have heard of stories where victims are shot or physically hurt to weaken them. Indeed, God answered the prayer that I made while helplessly lying on the floor. I asked God for two things – that these criminals would not physically hurt us and that my wife and kids would only return after these strangers whose only intent was evil had left. God answered my prayers and for that I am eternally grateful.
However, this experience left my father-in-law and I profoundly depressed, confused and angry. It left us overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and trauma. I now understand that trauma is not just an event that took place in someone’s life. It is an imprint left by the experience on the mind, brain and the body. I still have nightmares and flashbacks of the robbery and attack. While lying in bed at night, I often find myself re-playing and re-living the experience in my head.
Many families have been victims of crime across the country. Presenting the latest crime statistics on the 23rd of November 2022, the South African Police Service (SAPS) reported a wave of red across all crime categories in the country. The minister highlighted that more needed to be done to prevent crime. I believe that the work that we are doing at GTI is critical to addressing this disheartening reality in the country. When children and youth receive quality education, they become more reflective, empathetic and socially responsible. They cease to be, out of sheer desperation, a menace to society. They become solution bearers rather than problems to be fixed.
The three young people that attacked me in my own home would probably generate income through legal means if they had received the kind of education that GTI advocates for. They would have demonstrated love rather than exude a murderous spirit that was written all over their faces. This is our challenge in 2023 – produce quality teachers who will transform the public schools in rural and township areas. These teachers will produce learners and graduates who are caring, loving and ubuntu driven.
I therefore invite you to continue supporting the Future Leaders Programme. We welcome donations in cash and kind. However, if you can, a once-off donation of R3000 and/or monthly donation of R150 will guarantee a monthly stipend and/or an internet data bundle for one Future Leader respectively. Please join the campaign by sending your donation and forwarding this message to your own network of friends. You can send your donation directly into our bank account:
Account Name: Global Teachers Institute
Account Type: Current
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account Number: 6266 4422 525
Branch Clearing Code: 20 15 09 (Rondebosch)
Branch SWIFT Code: FIRNZAJJ
If you make a donation directly via our bank account, we would appreciate it if you send us proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can acknowledge your donation. You can also make credit card donations through our Given Gain page by clicking here. GTI is a public benefit organisation and is able to offer Section 18A certificates for tax-deduction purposes to qualifying taxpayers.
Our Future Leaders thank you for your support as together, we write a new story for education in South Africa and the world.