Failure: An incurable disease

Sometimes we privileged people speak out of our asses. Yeah I said it. Read it again and think about how often you run your mouth without thinking about the effects it will have on another individual.

When the matric results were released Twitter was buzzing with the usual commentary, jokes, wit and sarcasm. I love twitter I really do. There is always a great debate you can be a part of, or a hilarious joke you can share with people. Sometimes however, the jokes get very personal and the commentary is so incredibly ignorant you simply cannot ignore it.

I had so many people saying things such as “I don’t understand how you can fail matric”, or “Come on man matric is easy you can’t fail”. This is what I mean by speaking out of your ass. The greatest assumption about education in South Africa is that it is the same for all. The curriculum may be standardised on paper but just jump of your high horse for two seconds and consider external factors that contribute to one’s ability to learn.

Think about the child who is growing up in the rural areas, where the nearest school is 10km away and the only food they have is from the school’s feeding scheme.

What about the child who is taking care of her bed ridden HIV positive mother and younger siblings?

Consider the child who has a learning disability but does not have the opportunity to attend a special needs school because there isn’t one in his area. In the school he attends the teachers just gave up and pushed him through every grade so he would be the next teachers “problem”.

What about the child who is not fortunate to have teachers that care? Who thinks about these children and why they are unable to complete their matric? Who considers these children when you laugh at the Eastern Cape and Limpopo’s poor performance? We are not afforded the same opportunities in life, that’s the sad truth. Previously model c schools are still better equipped than the previously township schools.

Irrespective of the reason for someone’s failure, we tend to treat it like some sort of incurable disease. Like something you will never overcome or recover from. There’s this crazy notion that if you fail matric your whole future is destroyed and you will never get anywhere in life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have failed and I know that it is not easy to deal with. There’s a sharp stabbing pain in your body that doesn’t seem to go away. A feeling of shame and disappointment that seems to hover over your head. All of that is the beauty of self pity. Once you get over it you’ll realise that it’s not that bad. Get up and be optimistic. Drive yourself to do better the next time because you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Trust in the God who created you and His plans for your success. It may take longer than you wanted but you will make it as long as you keep going.

My mother always tells me that life is about choices and failure is not the end of the world. I read a quote that said “Success is preceded by failure”. Every single person will fail at least one thing in their life, whether it be a relationship, marriage, matric or university, every obstacle can either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone. The choice is yours.



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