Mr Vali Moosa
Chairperson of the School Governing Body
Teachers & Parents
Ladies and Gentleman
Thank you for inviting me to this prestigious event in the life of the Lenasia Secondary School. I am a proud alma mater of this school. I still have fond memories of a young Enver Surty who thought erroneously that he knew everything. Driving into the school this evening I was suddenly awash with a host of good memories. I hope many of the speakers invited today will also share their own memories with us this evening.
Today is indeed a special day because we are celebrating the victory of the school against the apartheid system that kept us separated over the years. The school was built to serve the Indian community in Lenasia and Mayfair, with the exclusion of children from the neighbouring Soweto and Eldorado Park.
Today’s celebrations are a testament that indeed we have secured victory over racial segregation. Our celebrations tonight coincide with nation-wide 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
Programme Director and Distinguished Guests, the Freedom Charter was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress and its allies the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People's Congress. It is characterized by its opening demand; The People Shall Govern!
On education the Charter proclaims boldly that “The Doors of Learning and Culture shall be opened! The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life; the aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace; Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children.”
In our endeavour to achieve the ideals of the Freedom Charter we shall collectively spare neither strength nor courage to see to it that the South African children regardless of class, gender colour or creed receive quality education in our lifetime.
Our new system of education inculcates the ethos of non-racialism, non-sexism and inclusiveness. Our end goal as dictated by the Freedom Charter is to offer universal free and compulsory primary and secondary education. We are indeed on course to achieve these lofty goals.
Today Lenasia Secondary has more than 40% of its learners coming from one of the largest and predominantly black township of Soweto alone. Equally pleasing is that there are other black learners coming from neighbouring townships such as Orange Farm. Now with the inclusion of children from the Eldorado Park and Ennerdale, the school has become a true reflection of the South African rainbow nation. The teacher composition of the school is also a reflection of our ethos of non-racialism, non-sexism as enshrined in the Freedom Charter. This alone calls for celebrations - bells and whistles. We indeed have a Good Story to Tell.
The ANC Government will continue to support the education of it citizens to keep the doors of learning open by building more schools, providing free textbooks, workbooks and stationery, providing free meals to learners and increasing the number of no-fee schools. We do all these to achieve a universal, compulsory and free quality education for all in our lifetime.
Let me be the first to confess that government cannot achieve all this without the support of parents and communities. Throughout the history of the struggle for better education and broader democratisation of the South African state, parents and communities have always played a pivotal role. It is for this reason that we have set aside a period from 6 to 28 March to run School Governing Body Elections in all our schools. Without community and parental involvement, our education cannot be a societal issue as envisaged by the President of the Republic His Excellency Jacob Zuma.
There are many government programmes and achievements that I would have liked to share with you with regard to the delivery of education in the country but the 10 minutes allocated time is a challenge. I would therefore like to wish each and every person associated with the school, the best of luck as we support the school for many more successes that are yet to come.