28 May, 2012

My Democracy My Write, By Thabo Mongoato

                          My Democracy My Write
                  Future Journalists Programme

By Thabo Mongoato

Journalism is about getting (involved) out in the world. (A crazy ask and a crazy ‘Yes’ Philipa Bradbury; Groccott’s Mail Tuesday, 13 March 2012)

For me democracy means to be free to walk on any path that I so choose.  It means being free to choose who I want as my leader and being able to question anything that I see as an injustice or misrepresentation on their part. Choosing to be a journalist is one of the most democratic gifts I have ever presented myself with. But being free does not mean I must trample on others chosen paths.  Respect for others, respect for life and respect of knowledge I possess is sacred.

The one thing I notice from today’s youth is ignorance about the role they could play in shaping our democracy by using the tools in their hands to inform their heads.  There is social media like twitter, facebook, myspace, blogger, wordpress etc where any one can voice their views on issues at hand and inspire a lively debate. Instead the youth prefer to talk about mundane things like fashion, television shows, cars, sex and all other useless things.  As a democratic people we have the power to influence intellectual debate. 

The Sunday Times (S.A) is running a campaign called ‘Each one Hire One’ which is an initiative to try and address unemployment.  Opinion leader and writers offer advice on how to create and retain jobs.

                                         Workers installing optical fibres in East London

The youth has a platform to also contribute to ease the burden of illiteracy amongst us.  There is the National Youth Development Agency which I feel we can put pressure into addressing this problem because I believe their core function is to address youth development. There can be no development without youth education.  In future blunders like the R370 million used for the 2010 NYDA festival should be avoided at all costs. Was there any value in such wastage of money? How many people would have benefited in getting bursaries from that money? (www.southafrica-pig.blogspot.com/2010/12youth-fest-blunders-on-as-delegates.html) Most of that money came from the National Lotteries Board which is basically our parents’ money.  If only we can pool all our communication tools together and have our own campaign called ‘Take one youth to Tertiary’ I believe we could be on the right path.

                                          Students learning Final Cut Pro                                  

The youth think that ‘media is accidental’ (Injury Time by Mark Fredericks lecturer of Photojournalism at WSU in East London).  The media is there to push agendas, it is a well oiled machine, the messages we receive have been well planned and carefully executed if we are ignorant of their intentions we may find ourselves as agents of destruction. I believe that as the youth we must not forget the ‘complexion of our business’ (Injury Time by Mark Fredericks) which is to grow up and look after one another by addressing issues as one we will get heard and so the better for the majority of us.

One matter of importance to me as free individual is of religion.  I believe to be truly free, an individual one must have a right to choose which religion to follow.  Being born into a family of Methodists/Anglican/Zionist or any other dominion does not naturally make you one.  Religion and spirituality are not a matter of perpetual succession, it is a matter of choice.  I believe that suppression of thought leads to the death of individuality. 
The youth has no choice but to claim their thought time.  We cannot be mxiting, facebooking, twitting, listening to music and thinking at the same time.  We need to awaken our minds and think a little a day.

               A WSU student preparing for a test

Dr Peter Magubane 


  1. Bradbury, P. 2012.  A crazy ask and a crazy ‘Yes’. Groccott’s Mail, March 13: 12
  2. Fredericks, M, Injury Time

  3. www.southafrica-pig.blogspot.com/2010/12youth-fest-blunders-on-as-delegates.html [Accessed: 24-05-2012]

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