By the merest chance I flicked through a school textbook the other day. I love history, and in my naïve and proudly-South African moments I have high hopes that our current regime will be more fair, inclusive and truthful than the previous one. We all know that old Jan van Riebeeck was a corrupt VOC official whose shenanigans were unlikely to have stopped once he was banned to the Cape of Good Hope. The old school books did a whitewash (bad pun…) of his dubious character to create a mostly fictitious Volksvader. I don’t know any white person who actually believes all that nonsense in the old history books. So it was with shock that I read the slanted view of history once more disseminated by those that approve what school aged children are fed.
Much as one wants to believe that people in education actually try to educate, the content is disturbingly selective (at best) and contra-educational (at worst). Is there a possibility that our leaders do not want us to think, because if we do we might become aware of their shortcomings and not vote them in again?
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. [Henry Ford]
The bias in the history book is also contra-inclusivity. With xenophobia rife in our country, we need to be ultra-conscious of material that causes division and racial hatred. As if it is not the height of irresponsible behaviour (not to mention hate speech and racism) to encourage anti-white hatred by the singing of “One Boer, One Bullet” and “Umshini Wam” by our leaders, to feed children prejudicial historic information sets them on the road to hell. Are we to learn nothing from the past?
One can but appeal to parents and teachers to be informed and just themselves, and serve as corrective influence on the children of our beautiful land. No group (race, colour, creed or gender) is without its shadow; we all have blood on our hands. Only substance can cast a shadow. To deny one’s shadow leaves one without the equipment to deal with reality. Isn’t it time to tell children the truth and set them on a real path towards making the world a better place for their children?