Two things, just two things our country needs to put real emphasis on.
If you want to grow the economy at more than 5% per annum you need the energy available to do it, and you need to be able to communicate. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again that the government just doesn’t understand that these two industries are critical for growth. It is obvious from the lack of attention they have paid to these two sectors. Lack of oversight, poor quality ministers the list goes on.
I believe it is almost as simple as creating enough of power and enabling better communication that would facilitate better access to information. The major role of education now should be to teach the youth to read, write and think. Teach them how to get online, then ask them to present something that they found really interesting. Suggest themes, geography could deal with accessing mapping programs, finding out areas and population densities, what amazing geological features are present?
Let them learn art and music and physics and biology online! Allow them to be fascinated, and then feed that fascination with information. With amazing experiments, with HD video of the greatest musicians!
Teach them to create online, teach them to code! To make mankind better by designing smarter less energy intensive ways to live.
The Internet and the power to run it are mankind’s greatest assets by a very very long margin, compared to any moment in history, they have the power to inspire, unite and tell the truth that has previously been warped and distorted throughout history in order for governments to get you to go to war and die for mineral rights.
The ability to communicate with thinkers and subject specialists across the globe is the greatest enabler to progress we have! The power that exists in the cloud to complete complex calculations to unlock the secrets of our DNA and the viruses that attack it. The potential for us to rediscover our love of the great outdoors for better ways of living. It excites me like very little else.
It is that obvious to me. You’d have to spend less on education if you could teach people how to access information, informal learning would allow for creative new solutions to take route in less obviously connected industries such as health. This is seen throughout Africa, where access to mobile communication devices has seen and explosion in applications designed to uplift rural peoples lives.
An app for monitoring your unborn babies health embedded in an old smart phone! Genius! It cuts down on lengthy journeys to the clinic, reduces the strain on doctors allowing them to better focus their efforts. Applications that monitor your health are so numerous now that if you have a smart phone and haven’t heard of one I’d be very surprised.
Back on track: South Africa.
Lets start with energy.
Clearly we are focusing on the wrong sources of energy. Yes coal is abundant but it is also amazingly hazardous to our continued survival within a climatic model that we understand. Now hear me out, I’m not going to harp on about how we should go green and adopt solar and wind and all our problems will be solved.
They won’t be we’ll spend ourselves into a pit. A very shiny pit that will have us producing even less than we currently do with lovely wind farms to look at all day while we are all unemployed.
We need nuclear power.
And we need lots of it. It is unsustainable for the coal fields to supply the rest of the country with power. Power needs to be produced close to where it is utilized or you lose a lot of it to cable resistance and you end up wasting what could be used to fuel industry and growth. You end up producing more CO2 per product produced. This is not something we want to do right now.
Nuclear power is a technology that has come along way since the bad old days, words like triple redundancy and super safe are designs there to protect us while we gain access to what is a truly remarkable fuel source. Energy per gram, nothing else compares or even features. The best thing yet is that South Africa is Uranium rich! We have bucket loads of the stuff! We could refine it here, tell the West to suck on it and become energy independent. Which is what USA is so desperately trying to do. Every wonder why? We have the technology, we’ve done it before. We have a coastline vast enough to supply cooling water. The only problem here is the stigma attached to it.
There are new reactors out there, the word thorium is whispered about and nearly ready to be implemented. Indeed India and China have designs on these types of reactors. We need a stop gap and nuclear is our best bet. There is so much that is misunderstood about nuclear power. Yes radiation is scary but not as scary as our continued blind reliance on coal. How many lungs are being destroyed by those power stations?
Here is where access to information is crucial, if we are informed we can make informed decisions. It is too easy at the moment to dredge up an angry mob to go and wreak havoc for selfish purpose like a show of strength?
As an aside nothing looks weaker than sending in the “army” for every perceived slight.
Strikes may have had a purpose in the past, but now they cost too much money both to the striker and the strikee. The only beneficiary seems to be the union itself.
Anyway. If people were better educated (and here I interchange educated and connected), they could read both sides of the story, they’d be able to weigh up all the facts, better connected they could make up their own minds without having to listen to the propaganda.
The other reason I love the thought of a better connected society is that it would reduce the ignorance claims. We didn’t know therefore how can we be responsible? People are also less inclined to burn their own possessions in protest (like smart devices). The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for schools, clinics and libraries apparently.
I want South Africa to blossom, to see it’s full potential, not just be that place where that amazing man came from but to stand up on the world stage and have a moral and ethical and educated voice.
I want us to be able to say we have real freedom, we understand all the issues, we’ve talked about it and this is what most of us think should be done. I want everyone to be able to learn bits of everything, so that their voice is informed and not merely a ventriloquist show.