Why Societies Fail
“When people walk past us, they look at us like we are dogs. They look down on us like we are not even people, just because we eat from bins” – Wanda Msani
A powerful statement from a 15-year-old that makes your heart sink. It was only a week or two ago that the documentary, Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children aired on BBC 4. It was a sad story to take in i must add. So, to read about Wanda Msani and his friends, who like him, are all Street children in South Africa made me wonder, why are we failing our children?
Wanda and his friends should not have to eat from bins…but they do. These kids live in the New South Africa, they are part of the born-free generation, yet they are in shackles due to a breakdown of responsibility in the home, the society and system they were born into.
How interesting, South Africa has invested millions if not billions to host the forthcoming World Cup, yet, its children are destitute. The irony of all societies because I bet you the same thing happens in the US, UK and other nations around the world. They are in the business of looking good on the world stage but their house is not in order. Brazil recently won the bid to host the Olympics in the near future. It also happens to be home to some of the biggest slums in the world.
I am not against the Olympics or the World Cup being hosted in these countries. However, I do wonder if the same effort and resources invested into these tournaments/events was put into helping these children who have found themselves on the streets, how different would the story of our future generations be? The failure of a society is not down to the government alone. It is down to all of us. If you want to grade the wealth of a nation, check the statistics for the number of people sleeping on the streets and then tell me how rich you think that country is?
In a recent interview with Funmi Iyanda, the Nigerian presenter and producer behind Talk With Funmi, she said, she believes that societies succeed when no one is left behind. I so agree with her because we must learn to look after each other. It is easier said than done. I also know there are people doing their best to help but from the look of things, it is not enough. More needs to be done. And so, our governments, we as individuals and the different organs of society structured to help children and those who find themselves in situations of this nature must step up their game and help.
We must stop being arm-chair critics, get off our ass and do something because it is the only way we will make things happen and leave a legacy.
This reminds me of the film, The Blind Side, which recently won Sandra Bullock her first Oscar. Michael Oher, whose life the story is based, has gone on to become a name we all know because Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy took the time to help him and in so doing, changed his life’s trajectory. Today, Oher is a pro-football player in the NFL. It only takes one person to take interest in a child who is helpless and that one person has the ability to change the rest of their life.
Wanda now plays football with other street kids. I hope this leads him to better things in life. Football ought not to be his only way out but from the look of things…that may well be it. I have no idea about the level of education he has but I bet you he would prefer to be in a classroom learning than on the streets, going through bins searching for food. In our respective positions in life and the different countries we live in, we need to take time and sow down into someone’s life. After all, it takes a village to raise a child. Though they cannot pay back but the fulfillment and smile on a face when you make a difference, you have to experience the joy that comes with it for yourself. No one can explain or describe it to you. It is a very personal thing.
For if we start sowing down into the lives of tomorrow’s leaders, we have a chance at making a success of the societies we live.
So, get off your chair, do something. Sow down into a life for I bet you, that life will change and the only way to go is up.
Read Wanda’s story here