THE young people who died in the 1976 Soweto Uprising were examples of courage and selflessness and had given today’s youth the opportunity of a better education.
That was the message from Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor during the sod-turning event for a R30-million science centre to be built in the small rural town of Cofimvaba.
Pandor said the youth of 1976 had fought the fact that the apartheid system tried to entrench inferior education on to black youth by imposing Afrikaans as a medium of instruction on them.
“They stood to say every child deserves a good education. You must stand for that and change the country fundamentally,” she said to the audience of about 3000 people in the Cofimvaba Secondary School hall.
“Don’t let down those who went to prison and died for you. I am taking money from the people of SA to build this centre. Government property must not be used to express any level of anger,” she said.
The minister said an even bigger centre would be built than as previously envisaged, due to the municipality donating land. “Through this centre, you will all be able to see how science works in everyday life. You will touch science.”
And ahead of the August local government elections, Pandor said if people voted another government into power , all the projects that were in the pipeline might be changed.
Pandor was accompanied by basic education deputy minister Enver Surty, who said the clause “the doors of learning shall be opened to all” in the Freedom Charter was now becoming a reality.
He said the Eastern Cape was an incubator of South African intellectuals.
Surty said the centre’s focal point will be development of technology connected to every aspect of human life, adding 43% in rural areas in the Eastern Cape were connected to information and communications technology.