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Keynote Address by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, at the 2019 Gauteng Department of Education, Tshwane South District’s Awards, 24 January 2020

Programme Directors: Mr. Matlhola & Ms. Matebane

MEC for Gauteng Education: Mr. Panyaza Lesufi

District Director: Mrs Hilda Kekana

Motivational Speaker: Linda Ntuli

Forever Resorts Executive

Teachers and Learners

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my singular honour, and a privilege to speak at this Tshwane South District Awards.

These awards are indeed one of the most eagerly awaited awards in the Gauteng City Region.

Today, we are here to celebrate your outstanding achievements. You’re indeed a guiding light in our basic education sector.

We are proud of your achievements hence our presence here today. We salute all schools, top learners and teachers who are winners in today’s awards.

We acknowledge the extraordinary efforts, which have been achieved often under very difficult conditions, and in service to our children, many of whom come from poor communities.

Programme Director; it is almost therapeutic to grace events of this nature. As Minister of Basic Education, I hold high academic achievers in high regard.

You – both top learners and winning teachers make our work worthwhile. You are a living proof of the ancient wise words that: ‘Excellence…is not an act, but a habit.’

It may sound like a cliché but it’s not. It is days like today that makes being a public representative worth all the long hours.

The Tshwane South District, Class of 2019, is a reflection on us as a nation that, over the years, we have been pulling together, one cohort at a time.

We converge here at the beginning, not only of the New Year and, the new school term, but at the dawn of a new decade.

We converge here to celebrate a human endeavour that has long lasting impact not only on the life of top learners but society as a whole.

Education is the single most weapon against poverty.

High performing education systems around the world are known for powering their nations to faster economic growth, lessen the burden of diseases, cementing democracy, and achieving better living conditions for society.

As we enter the last decade of Vision 2030, the National Development Plan (NDP), let us even more clearly define the South Africa we want, and agree on the concrete actions we need to achieve them.

We all know that there is nothing more important than what our children achieve at the pinnacle of their high school years after a long schooling career.

By its very nature, succeeding and winning builds confidence. It builds character. It says, as a child, I am valued. I am an asset. It also reinforces the fact that hard work is always the baseline of great achievements.

We salute our winning teachers. Our winning teachers are the body and pride of our nation. Teachers maketh the schools. Without teachers, there are no schools that can serve as centres of academic endeavour.

We salute our top learners for choosing academic excellence over mediocrity. For choosing educational success over social ills such as drugs, teenage pregnancies, and alcohol.

For staying the course of twelve long years of learning. Truly, your success is earned. Today, you deserve all the accolades.

You’re a shining example of what young people can achieve working together with their peers, teachers and parents.

Our top learners and winning teachers couldn’t have mastered the art of academic excellence and winning on their own.

We salute our partners, at home and abroad.

We say to all parents and community leaders, take a bow!

Programme Director; the cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Ian Robertson explains that, ‘success and failure shapes us more powerfully than genetics and drugs.’

Nurture changes nature as it were.

So today I dare you to make winning your habit. It must become part of who you’re are.

However, I must warn against undulated celebration as a result of the success of the Tshwane South District, Class of 2019.

In as much as we have no business wallowing in self-pity, similarly we must shy away from unrestrained, self-congratulatory platitudes at the slightest whiff of success. 

Nonetheless, I just want to be frank with you, there’s an honour in hard work and winning.  

In fact, there’s gratification in being on top. It fortifies the notion that there’s always a light at the end of tunnel. An honour in honesty - for hard work and success are rich cousins of honesty.

Most importantly, there’s pleasure in acquiring knowledge.

One of the habits of successful people is that they read for meaning, for pleasure and to broaden their horizons beyond the village, town or township.

Programme Director; our recent registered successes in the basic education system must not lull us into believing that this is the time to pop the proverbial champagne.

Our challenges in the basic education are still immense. Judging by the recent progress, it shows that we are capable of achieving greatness as a nation.

Programme Director; daily, we live by the ethos of our founding father uTata Nelson Mandela who said: ‘…The best gift you can give children is an education.’

 

Without an education, our children can never really meet the challenges they will face in the real world.

 

So it's very important to us that our children receive an education that they deserve so that they can be equipped to play their role in our country’s quest for accelerated economic development.

It is true that education is an important lever to breaking the cycle of poverty and inequalities.

It is through quality education that countries shift towards being sustainable societies. And, today through both words and deeds, this cohort of learners and teachers are contributing to this lofty ideal.

I wish to invite you to join us as ambassadors of the Read to Lead Campaign which encourages the nation to read.

The Read to Lead Campaign aims to inspire and build national interest among learners, parents, teachers and business communities to improve learner competence in the critical area of literacy.

It creates opportunities to motivate communities to read for enjoyment, educational attainment and personal development.

Let me end by paraphrasing the international scholar and author Mark Twain, who said: ‘Never let schooling interfere with your education.’  

To the class of 2019, here at the Tshwane South District, your schooling has officially ended, but: ‘Your education has only just begun.’  

You’re now ambassadors of the basic education sector. You have proven doomsters wrong by excelling within the public schooling system.

In conclusion, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to the sponsors such as Forever Resorts, Bongani Rainmakers, Marys’ Fashions, Protea Bookshop & First National Bank and other partners who have walked this road with us since the beginning.

We further convey our sincere gratitude to the MEC for Gauteng Education, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi, Head of Gauteng Education Department, Mr. Edward Mosuwe, District Director, Mrs Hilda Kekana, Circuit managers, teachers, parents and learners for keeping the system chugging along towards the desired levels of educational excellence.

Let all our top learners grab opportunities in the post-schooling sector, and join the mass movement that seeks to build a South Africa of our dreams.

I thank you.

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Written By: DBE Webmaster
Date Posted: 1/27/2020
Number of Views: 922

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