Address by Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, at the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust Fundraising Dinner, Killarney Country Club
13 August 2010
I thank you very much for this invitation to address the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust Fundraising Dinner.
I must also express my appreciation to all the Trustees of the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust, under the chairpersonship of Mr Paul Mashatile, for this initiative that will contribute to community empowerment through education.
Education is without doubt a lever to uplift individuals, their families and society at large. Nowhere is this true than in South Africa, where education should serve as a weapon against the scourge of poverty among our people.
At the same time it is pleasing to see that as we strive to build a better South Africa we are not oblivious to our history.
Indeed this event shows that we have not forgotten the historical connection between the past and the present.
As we all know the present is but a logical outcome of our past.
As the death of Vincent ‘Toivo’ Tshabalala shows, precious lives and limbs were lost as the price to be paid by the courageous and selfless South Africans in the cause of fighting for our present democracy.
I am therefore grateful to the African National Congress (ANC) in Alexandra and the people of Alexandra as a whole, for institutionalizing the memory of this freedom fighter in the manner they have done.
Even more so, I am grateful that Vincent Tshabalala’s name and memory serve as the basis for an Education Trust so that his name will not only live on in the annals of history but his memory will be associated with causes meant for building a better future for South Africans, as he would have liked.
Vincent Tshabalala himself was a versatile young man who was not only concerned about the plight of his people under apartheid but also showed keen interest in education.
He was confident that when democracy and justice dawned in his country, there would be a need to create opportunities for quality education for all, which would lift the fortunes and well-being of South Africans, especially those from the poorest families and communities.
Even though we are not yet there, we can say steadily our country is working towards these realisable ideals of human growth and societal development, with education as a special area of government attention.
I am therefore confident that all the students who will benefit from this Education Trust will also be required to know the history and philosophy behind this Trust such as “enhancing the culture of teaching and learning’... and ‘supporting networking opportunities”.
This will in turn enable them to understand the history of our struggle for freedom that lies behind our Constitutional democracy today.
I believe the objectives of the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust are as follows:
· Award full bursaries to the top matriculates in Alexandra high schools;
· Sponsor two financially disadvantaged Grade 8 pupils till completion of high school and provide holistic support;
· Initiate national and international exchange and exposure programmes;
These criteria could not have been better. It is important, as in the first criterion, to encourage our learners to achieve the best results possible.
It is also heart-warming to see that from the community view point, we are able to address the challenge of the needy among us, and not only await assistance from outside, important as it is.
By social responsibility we are not only referring to the financing of deserving community projects by corporations alone; but we are also referring to the support of dedicated individuals and comrades.
This norm of identifying needy learners is part of the task of creating the culture of selflessness and community assistance.
It is thus pleasing to see the efforts of this Trust benefiting many capable learners since the Trust’s establishment in September 2004.
Bearing in mind that Vincent Tshabalala died for the selfless course of the struggle for all, the objectives of the Trust remind us of the need for this selflessness as we build historically resonant society with unlimited future promise.
It should also go a long way towards fostering collective effort, working together, consistent with our call for Letsema, so as to rehabilitate a collective ethos in our communities.
In addition, I am much aligned with and supportive of the objective of ‘creating and supporting a volunteer network to enable the beneficiaries of the Trust and other students to engage in community development initiatives’.
In so doing, we would be facilitating a win-win scenario and generating a cycle of empowerment that can reach critical mass and become applied in other communities beyond Alexandra.
This spirit of self-reliance I have mentioned finds a broader expression in the funding aspect of this trust.
Indeed, you have set a good example by putting emphasis on various segments of the community as the primary sources of funding, especially the Trustees, identified individuals from the community and the graduate beneficiaries themselves.
In all, what this means is that the vision and direction this Trust takes reflect the collective vision of the country and the will of all its stakeholders.
I congratulate the Trustees of the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust, the beneficiaries and all who are involved to ensure we build a culture of giving to those who are less fortunate than ourselves and in building the proper channels that will better position our communities.
Based on all the above, one can contend without fear of exaggeration that the struggle that defined Vincent Tshabalala’s life and for which he paid the ultimate price was not in vain.
I thank you.