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#PoeticLicence: The great deal that South Africa has made of matriculation

Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Published Jan 16, 2022


Johannesburg - We may have bid farewell to some of our peers who were pushed beyond their limits of humiliation. But we always went to our schools to collect results after the media dust settled.

Like a purge, the annual tradition of purchasing a newspaper to see who passed matric, left others perished at the face of shame from failing the test of life – the great deal that South Africa made of matriculation.

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Some of us who passed were the first in our families to even sit for a matric exam.

Why wouldn't it be a big deal if many of our families pin their hopes on matriculants?

With advancements in technology and awareness, the blue pill that was publicly publishing results grew too big and bitter to swallow.

It grew horns, a tail, conjured a pitchfork and raised raging fires.

These raging fires were further fuelled by the communities we live in.

This burden – matric results turned into a status situation and became everyone’s business.

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Parents bragging to their neighbours about their child who passed and is going to study at University X is no different to telling your friend, as children, that your toy is shinier than theirs.

Parents living vicariously through their young in a failed attempt at being forever young.

This burden was too heavy for their fragile bones, their minds. Generations aren't equally resilient.

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Parents posting their bundles of joy in school uniforms. Manufacturing sitting ducks in the age of heightened kidnappings.

A simple attempt at treasuring the first day at school turned deadly.

Like the tides of publishing our results; the alternate rising and falling of the sea of ID numbers and names in black and white for the world to see.

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The annual tradition grew to become a spectacle of sorts; pedestalled and encouraged the tendency to see matric as an ending.

The concept of lifelong learning through higher and further education is an option for others. We can barely choose flushing toilets. Their pit counterparts still swallow our young.

Options often require money. Dreams may be free but they infrequently put food on the table.

If passing Grade 12 was an example of progress in freedom, then I guess printing the results in newspapers and online was a vanity programme gone wrong in more ways than one.

One can agree that this extinct annual event has always been a dramatic interlude.

It was a game of showmanship. A blessing and a curse.

Mostly a blessing, but the curse seemed to weigh heavier on a libra scale.

We have been blessed with an equal will to survive but cursed with disproportionate mental resources to fly to the moon.

The colonisation of our parents' minds undermined the level of content and scope of their learning.

It even attempted to pry open their mouths, cut out the tongues of our mothers and put in those of their fathers, to fiery and deadly conclusions.

In conclusion, passing is important but matric is not an ending.

The Saturday Star

Related Topics:

MatricsBasic Education