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August 2020
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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


5 Responses to “Why Societies Fail”

  1. Hans Schippers says:

    I hate to sound pessimistic here, but I have the impression that things are rather moving in the opposite direction 🙁
    Even in those nations where, on average, people could easily give up some of their wealth for the benefit of those less fortunate, they are unwilling and look out for number one.
    Just consider Obama’s health insurance plan, and then look at the opposition’s argumentation against it: “We don’t want to pay for that, it’ll take away what we have, oh, and by the way, he’s a communist.” And what’s worse, people seem to swallow it…
    In my country a social system has been taken for granted for many years, after it was installed after many years of struggle. However, the general opinion now shifts towards it being abused by foreigners and those too lazy to work. As if people live off a wellfare check that will barely buy them bread for fun…
    People take birth right for granted. They were lucky to be born in a wealthy country, and there’s no reason to feal guilty about it. Even though (in Belgium’s case) they know all too well that up until no more than 50 years ago, we were happily robbing the Congo of its resources. Still, a Congolese human being looking for refuge will be frowned upon, told to go back to wherever it is he came from.
    My unfortunate conclusion is that, on a large scale, people are only willing to unite and express solidarity if they themselves are in trouble.
    There is some hope, but as you point out it is in individuals. However, I do believe that there may actually be more of them around than can be spotted at first sight. It’s a matter of bringing them together and try to speak out with a voice that contradicts all the madness which now passes for “common sense”…

  2. Ogochukwu says:

    Its really annoying…countries that would spend millions on hosting an event cannot stand up to cater for its own future.

    I hope that they win the tournament – if thats the only way to get the governement to notice them and maybe to clearly see that indeed these children have dreams and talents that can be put to good use.


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