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Quotes From Notable Figures About PovertyNotable figures throughout history are oftentimes known for their eloquence. This ability is especially important when it comes to mobilizing others around important issues, such as poverty. Below are nine quotes from notable figures about poverty.

9 Quotes From Notable Figures About Poverty

  1.  “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” -Nelson Mandela.

    Nelson Mandela was a philanthropist and social rights activist. Additionally, he was also the former President of South Africa and a spokesman for ending poverty. In 2005, he made a speech at the Make Poverty History rally in London, speaking to a crowd of 22,000 people on the subject.

  2. “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” -Mother Teresa.

    Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor around the world. In addition, she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in overcoming poverty and distress.

  3. “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

    Mahatma Gandhi traveled around the world and observed the living conditions and causes of poverty. He began his activism in South Africa and later became the leading notable figure in India. Gandhi faced imprisonment several times for undertaking hunger strikes and protesting the oppression of India’s poorest classes.

  4. “Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society…” -Muhammad Yunus.

    Muhammad Yunus is a professor from Bangladesh who dedicated his life to becoming actively involved in poverty reduction in Bangladesh after observing the famine of 1974. Then, he went on to develop a number of companies to address the diverse issues of poverty, including a method of banking that provided small loans to the poor to assist them with getting out of poverty.

  5. “Poverty is not a fate, it is a condition; It is not a misfortune, it is an injustice.”-Gustavo Gutierrez.

    Gustavo Gutierrez was a theologian and priest whose beliefs were that it was the Christian duty to aid the poor and the oppressed. Further, Gutierrez dedicated his life to advocating for the poor in Latin America.

  6. Poverty devastates families, communities and nations. It causes instability and political unrest and fuels conflict.” -Kofi Annan.

    Kofi Annan believed in combating poverty, promoting equality and fighting for human rights. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Annan’s greatest achievement includes the launching of the U.N. Millenium Development Goals which cut extreme poverty in half.

  7. “The issue of poverty is not a statistical issue. It is a human issue.” – James Wolfensohn.

    As the ninth President of the World Bank Group, James Wolfensohn focused on fighting global poverty and helping the poor forge better lives. His belief was that the Bank should serve the people of the world, particularly the poorest of the poor.

  8. “Poverty is a scourge that must be overcome, and this can only be accomplished through concerted international efforts involving effective partnerships between developed and developing countries and between government, the private sector and civil society.” -Dr. Han Seung-Soo.

    Dr. Han Seung-Soo was the Prime Minister of South Korea and is now the President of the United Nations General Assembly’s 56th session. Further, Seung-Soo dedicated his presidency to emphasizing the consideration of ways to bring Africa into the mainstream through poverty eradication and the generation of sustainable development.

  9. It is our moral failure that we still tolerate poverty.” -Ela Bhatt.

    Ela Bhatt, the founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association, believes poverty is a form of violence. She has been an advocate for the poor, particularly women, in her native country of India.

Na’Keevia Brown
Photo: Flickr

the eldersIn 2007, Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel discussed an idea: what if former leaders of the world used their previous experience and influence to establish a non-profit tackling pressing modern issues? The Elders, an independent organization led by global leaders who no longer hold public office and are independent of any government affiliation, was born.

Who Are The Elders?

The first and founding member of the organization was Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, who dedicated his life to ending apartheid. Like Mandela, peace makers, peace builders, social revolutionaries, and pioneering women comprise this group of influential individuals. The current Chair of the Elders is Mary Robinson, the first female Prime Minister of Ireland. Former Presidents of Mexico, Chile, and Liberia are also among the elite group. Currently, 11 individuals comprise the organization, while there are an additional five leaders considered “Elder Emeritus,” including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Focuses of The Elders

The Elders focus on six programming areas. Firstly, the organization works to support international cooperation in solving issues that threaten all global citizens. For example, The Elders believe that nuclear weapons are a threat to all humans on Earth and are working on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The organization believes that the only way to achieve this, and many other overarching goals, is through practical steps and global cooperation. The Elders also use their experience in peace making and building to aid in securing peaceful solutions to conflicts throughout the world. Specific priorities of the Elders include tension and conflict in the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, and Zimbabwe.

Through global and country-level lobbying and activity, the Elders aim to build support for the importance of universal health coverage. Through keynote speeches and visits to countries in need of healthcare, the Elders are committed to achieving universal health coverage. The organization also believes that global complacency in climate change is one of the largest injustices in human history. To combat climate change, the organization is seeking to ease the transition to a low carbon economy and encourage creative solutions to keeping the planet sustainable.

In response to the number of migrants and refugees, The Elders works to keep struggles of these individuals at the forefront of the news and the minds of the public. Lastly, the group works with governments and countries to ensure that access to justice remains an important human right.

This esteemed group of individuals has massive impacts in unstable regions of the world, from Israel and Palestine to Sudan and South Sudan. Using its six programming focuses, the organization tackles a massive variety of issues, challenging injustice and praising and supporting strong governments and ethical leadership.

– Orly Golub
Photo: Flickr

Quotes on the Family by Nelson Mandela
Poverty has a tremendous, and mostly negative, impact on the behavior and health of families across the globe. Spouses in impoverished families are more likely to use violence against their partners, develop addictions and engage in criminal behavior. Parents in impoverished families often face a conflict between their role as a parent and their role as a worker. Children in impoverished families tend to have lower birth rates, struggle with behavioral disorders and perform worse in school. Additionally, they find it more difficult to find employment than those in wealthier families. Because of the negative impact poverty has on the family, impoverished families do not experience the joys and comforts of family life that wealthier families experience. However, Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, knew how essential a happy family is for both enduring life’s hardships and participating in political activism which his quotes on family display.

Mandela was a political leader and philanthropist. Throughout his life, Mandela created a large family of six children, two wives and 17 grandchildren. As he suffered in the prison on Robben Island from 1964 to 1982, Mandela’s meditations on his family were what gave him the comfort and motivation to endure his struggles and continue his life of activism. Below is a list of five quotes on family by Nelson Mandela.

Quotes on Family by Nelson Mandela

  1. “From experience I have found that a family photo is everything in prison and you must have it right from the beginning.”
    -From a letter to Winnie Mandela, written on Robben Island on June 22, 1969.
  2. “I have often wondered whether a person is justified in neglecting his own family to fight for opportunities for others.”
    -From an unpublished autobiography manuscript, written on Robben Island, 1975.
  3. “I like relaxing at the house, reading quietly, taking in the sweet smell that comes from the pots, sitting around the table with the family and taking out my wife and children. When you can no longer enjoy these simple pleasures, something valuable is taken away from your life and you feel it in your daily work.”
    -From an unpublished autobiography manuscript, written on Robben Island, 1975.
  4. “Our families are far larger than those of whites and it’s always a pure pleasure to be fully accepted throughout a village, district or even several districts any time, completely relax, sleep at ease and freely take part in the discussion of all problems, where you can even be given livestock and land to build free of charge.
    -From a letter to Mrs. N. Thulare, written on Robben Island, July 19, 1977.
  5. “A happy family life is an important pillar to any public man. Few people are essential or dangerous to the success or downfall of a politician than a good wife or play-girl.”
    -From a letter to Winnie Mandela, written on Robben Island, May 6, 1979.

Family and Global Poverty

These five quotes on family by Nelson Mandela reveal that healthy families are essential for a good life and a healthy society. One of the primary ways humans can make it easier for everyone to have a good life and form healthy families is by ending global poverty.

When people eradicate global poverty, spouses around the world could be less likely to use violence against their partners or develop addictions and engage in criminal behavior. Fathers and mothers should also be less likely to face any conflict between their role as a parent and their role as a worker. Also, children should have high birth rates, be less likely to have behavioral disorders, perform better in school and find it easier to find employment than those in impoverished families. As organizations around the world work tirelessly to reduce global poverty, the joys and comforts of family life that wealthier families enjoy may no longer be something the poor can only dream of, but a reality they can experience.

– Jacob Stubbs
Photo: Wikimedia

Nelson Mandela Quotes on Love

As the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela put persistent effort in dismantling the apartheid that divided the nation for 46 years. His peaceful protests against the racist legislation of the South African government exemplified legendary courage and leadership. These Nelson Mandela quotes on love reflect that through social activism and philanthropy, a passion for the betterment of humankind can change the world.

Nelson Mandela continuously inspires liberation movements across the world. His prison sentence of 27 years for the political offense of organizing and supporting the anti-apartheid movement lives on as a principle of a true hero. After being released from prison, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize. Then in 1994, he became the nation’s first democratically elected President. Inspiration for any oppressed group of people can be found in Mandela’s quotes about love for others and love of justice.

Ten Nelson Mandela Quotes on Love

  1. “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”
  2. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
  3. “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”
  4. “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
  5. “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
  6. “As long as many of our people still live in utter poverty, as long as children still live under plastic covers, as long as many of our people are still without jobs, no South African should rest and wallow in the joy of freedom.”
  7. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
  8. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
  9. “It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.”
  10. “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.”

These Nelson Mandela quotes on love depict the ways in which he witnessed the world, and sought to change it. With love for oneself, others and one’s country, anything is possible.

– Nia Coleman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mandela
Nelson Mandela is known internationally for his great activism for equal rights for all. Mandela was a South African political leader, beginning his career as a lawyer determined to free his fellow black Africans.

July of 2018 marked his centennial, and though he may no longer be alive, his legacy continues on. His anti-apartheid revolution improved levels of poverty in Africa, and his words of inspiration will forever impact others: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

Today, many people still celebrate Nelson Mandela’s work through the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Barack Obama recently gave a speech in celebration of Mandela, encouraging philanthropists everywhere to honor his work. Celebrities like Oprah, Jay-Z, Usher, Ed Sheeran and others are coming together to put on a concert for the Mandela 100 Fest in South Africa.

For those interested in celebrating Mandela, there are several ways to get involved. Action occurs at three levels:

  • Having the humanitarian mindset to care for supporting poverty in Africa
  • Being willing to communicate that concern and the need for aid
  • Finally jumping into action to provide the hands-on work.

Here are the most impactful ways to follow in Nelson Mandela’s legacy and help alleviate poverty in Africa.

6 Ways to Alleviate Poverty in Africa

  1. Believe in Humanity. Before one can bring about change and support for equality and basic human rights for all, the mindset has to exist. It is crucial to truly believe that all humans are deserving of the same dignity and respect. No cultural group is less human than another. Find commonality in humanity and advocate for justice in all corners of the Earth.
  2. Support Democracy. Democracy is the form of government that is ruled by elected officials in which members of the political boundary or state have been given the power to elect. Democracy means that everyone has a voice; thus, less oppression is allowed to take place. Though Africa as a continent is moving toward democracy, some countries remain oppressed, especially those in extreme poverty in rural areas. By supporting democracy in Africa, corruption and widespread violence can be eliminated.
  3. Empowerment. Being oppressed means that your voice isn’t being heard and that you are part of a marginalized, automatically disadvantaged group. The situation often seems hopeless when you are treated as insignificant. Any support for poverty in Africa is helpful, but when individuals feel empowered, minds expand and spirits rise. Be a part of lifting people up to feel empowered to seek out basic human rights — health, education, equality and social justice.
  4. Educate Yourself. With so many ways to access current events, it is fairly simple to stay current on global news. In developed nations, internet access is readily available to almost all persons. Take it upon yourself to seek out the facts and stay informed. Read the newspapers, subscribe to newsletters through your email or on your smartphone, or even search the internet for international happenings. It is important to be aware of credible sources versus not, so that you don’t fall victim to unnecessary hysteria. Another part of being informed about foreign affairs is to know who your public officials are as well as what policies exist for poverty in Africa — both pending in status and already in place.
  5. Dialogue. Don’t underestimate the power of communication. Poverty is a gruesome reality in Africa and many other underdeveloped nations. In a busy day-to-day life, there are many social interactions with people in social and professional circles. Many of these people will be aware of what is going on, and many will not. If people are having the conversations about poverty in Africa, its ramifications and how the U.S. as a leading global country can help, then the more likely it is for social action to ensue.
  6. Volunteer Your Time. Individuals in America and other developed nations can help alleviate poverty in foreign lands without having to travel or donate money. You can make a difference by taking action. Simple acts like calling your representative or sending an email can help bring attention to foreign aid. If time allows, meet with that representative to discuss the importance of supporting poverty in Africa. Contribute to an organization by organizing or volunteering for a fundraiser.

Leave a Mark

Nelson Mandela advocated for citizens of Africa to have the right to education, health, hunger, gender equality, literacy, peace and poverty while also supporting many charities. He has left his mark by not only his influence on political change but also his passionate and relentless motivation of people around the globe.

– Heather Benton

Photo: Flickr

Mandela 100 Festival
Singer Beyonce and her spouse, rapper Jay-Z, will be among several major artists to perform at Global Citizen’s Mandela 100 Festival in December 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Other artists scheduled to perform are Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin, Pharrell Williams, D’banj, Femi Kuti, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid. This latest concert campaign is said to be Global Citizen’s ”biggest campaign on the Global Goals to end extreme poverty ever.”

According to Global Citizen, the festival is to represent a celebration of Mandela’s legacy as an exemplary leader, his fight against apartheid, and his methods of non-violent protest that shaped the future of South Africa, setting an example worldwide. The Mandela 100 festival will be the first-ever musical event organized by Global Citizen in Africa

 A Global Initiative

As an organization that is composed of members worldwide, Global Citizen is a model example of a successful nongovernmental organization (NGO), a true grassroots movement. The organization has projected some major numbers for 2018: an estimated 2.25 billion people worldwide are expected to receive some form of poverty relief from Global Citizen, ranging from a year of free education for children to clean water for an entire community.

Global Citizen divides its goals into nine separate categories, each representing a broad set of issues that need to be resolved. They are:

  • Girls and Women
  • Health
  • Finance/Innovation
  • Education
  • Food and Hunger
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Environment
  • Citizenship

Global Citizen’s goal is to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030—just 12 years from now. And it seems that the organization may accomplish its goals, having secured a whopping $2.9 billion in funding from government organizations worldwide for 2018 alone.

How Everyone Can Help

But besides relying on funding from government bodies, Global Citizen asks that individuals take action as well, through twitter, email or petition. Global Citizen’s website offers a streamlined way for its constituents to influence representatives not only in their own country but in countries worldwide.

Some of the most recent and significant contributions to Global Citizen have come from the U.K., Norway and the E.U. These nations gave £225 million, Kr.2.07 billion and  €337.5 million to Global Citizen’s Global Partnership for Education project, respectively.

Mandela 100 Festival: A Festival For The People

The Mandela 100 Festival begins on December 2, 2018, and besides the proceeds going toward Global Citizen’s international fight against poverty, the other goal of the festival experience is to ignite a passion in young people to feel empowered to make changes in the world. Global Citizen wants to involve youth, on an international level, in the fight against extreme poverty.

Global Citizen’s website states it wishes to “galvanize young, passionate people across Africa to pressure their leaders to make important strides.” In fact, the motto for the festival is “Be The Generation.” Considering that Global Citizen is expecting to end abject poverty worldwide in little over a decade, millennials may just become the generation to tip the scales in the ongoing fight to elevate all members of our global community.

– Jason Crosby
Photo: Google

Mandela Quotes on PovertyPoverty can be an all too common sight, particularly when images and statistics saturate social media placing a wedge of detachment between the impoverished and those not impoverished. There are more than 640 million people suffering from extreme poverty today. To each of these people, poverty carries a burden difficult to understand from the perspective of those that just hear, read or see it on the news. Poverty is a hardship that is not nearly as simple as lacking food, clothing or shelter.

Nelson Mandela, the former first black president of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, had constantly implored the world to re-open its dulled senses to the tribulations of poverty. From his years as a lawyer and human rights activist, he successfully overturned apartheid in South Africa and ventured beyond the borders to end the injustice of poverty in all nations.

“He proved that equal respect and treatment of every person is and must continue to be an achievable reality everywhere in the world,” Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, said in a statement. “Nelson Mandela was a modern-day prophet for human dignity whose voice was heard around the world.” Below are the top five Nelson Mandela quotes on poverty that invite a renewed and clearer understanding of how his views on poverty can inspire the world.

Top 5 Mandela Quotes on Poverty

  1. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  2. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  3. “Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.”
  4. “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” – London’s Trafalgar Square in 2005.
  5. “In this new century, millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”

These five quotes depict a powerful image of poverty that scrutinizes aspects of status beyond just its basic definition. Mandela chose to focus on an optimistic possibility of overcoming poverty as opposed to becoming overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. The attitude of those who witness poverty can be a force large enough to reinvigorate the world to push for the change it needs.

 

– Alice Lieu
Photo: Flickr

Racial Inequality in South Africa
The World Bank recently released a 147-page report extensively detailing the root causes of economic struggle in South Africa. Researchers found that one of the most prominent factors behind poverty is racial inequality in South Africa.

Apartheid, the government-enforced segregation and discrimination against non-white people, came to an end in 1994 with the introduction of a racially mixed, democratically elected parliament under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. But although discriminatory policies stopped being imposed by the government, that unfortunately does not mean that racism vanished from the country. In fact, South Africa remains the most racially unequal country in the entire world.

The residual effects of apartheid have had tremendous impacts on the poverty rate, and the remnants of racial inequality in South Africa are still playing a role in the nation’s economic structure to this day.

Employment Disparities Remain After the End of Apartheid

Because apartheid took place relatively recently, many non-white people in South Africa who lived through it are still recovering from being discriminated against during that time. The report states that non-whites statistically have fewer skills, simply because they were excluded from the workforce for so long. This means that they are still more likely to be unemployed than white people. In fact, black South Africans saw a 31.4 percent unemployment rate in 2017, while among white South Africans the rate was only 6.6 percent.

Employment is hard to come by for non-whites because of how the education system was set up during apartheid. White education focused on reading, language and math, while non-white education mainly trained people to become unskilled laborers so that white people would not have to compete with non-white people for high-paying jobs.

This plan worked exactly as it was intended to, and many non-white people are doomed to a life of working low-paying jobs simply because they were never taught the skills to advance in their careers. As of last year, white South Africans still bring in an average income that is five times greater than that of black South Africans.

Race-Based Displacement Caused Lasting Inequality

Another measure taken to promote racial inequality in South Africa during apartheid was the passage of the Group Areas Act of 1950. This resulted in millions of people being forced out of their homes and sent to live in specific areas based on their race. White people were able to live in the most developed areas, while non-whites were usually placed in barren rural townships. Even if non-whites happened to live in decent areas, their neighborhoods could be demolished to make room for white residences if the land appealed to them.

Because of this mass displacement, many non-whites still live far away from developed regions (even though it is no longer mandated by law) because it is too difficult to find somewhere else to live. For instance, the Western Cape province–home to Cape Town, one of South Africa’s biggest tourist destinations–is the most developed province in South Africa. The Western Cape has the lowest black population out of all the provinces at 32 percent. However, the Eastern Cape, South Africa’s most underdeveloped province, has the highest black population at 86 percent.

The distance from their townships into more populous cities makes it harder for non-whites to find employment in commercial areas, and even if they are able to secure a job, the cost of transportation to get there is very high. In fact, the average South African commuter spends about 40 percent of his or her income on transportation.

Government Efforts to Address Racial Inequality in South Africa

The South African government has taken measures to combat poverty related to racial inequality. The first of these was the establishment of minibus taxis, a cheaper form of public transportation from rural areas into cities. This has helped alleviate some of the cost and inconvenience that comes with living outside of populous areas.

Another important step taken by the government to overcome racism was the passage of the Employment Equity Act. This act made it illegal for employers to discriminate against their workers based on race and requires employers to promote diversity in the workplace through affirmative action programs.

Though these are great initiatives for helping those who were unfairly affected by apartheid and the racism that still lingers today, much more can be and needs to be done to reduce poverty by battling racial inequality in South Africa.

– Maddi Roy
Photo: Flickr

Inequality in South Africa
South Africa has long been known as one of the most unequal societies in the world. In the 1990s, South Africa’s Gini coefficient–a measure that reflects inequality, where zero is absolute equality and one is absolute inequality–was, at 0.66, the highest in all the 57 countries for which this data was available. That measure, as of 2015, has remained the same. The top 10 percent of South Africans earn roughly 60 percent of all income and own 95 percent of all the country’s assets, whereas 80 percent own no wealth at all. Inequality in South Africa continues to be a major issue as the country moves to distance itself from its apartheid- era exclusionary style.

The root causes of South Africa’s severe inequality can be traced back to the establishment of Cape Town, a Dutch shipping port in the 1650s. Over the next two centuries, “military conquest and political exclusion, which took a colonial and racial form,” expanded into the interior.

After the British took over in the early nineteenth century, the defeated indigenous groups were never fully incorporated into the economic and political model. The twentieth century brought the neighboring counties under British rule, culminating in a peace settlement which “inscribed racial discrimination in the foundations of the new South African state.” The framework for inequality in South Africa had already been laid by the time the National Party came to power in 1948 and enforced its apartheid legislation.

South Africa continues a system of socioeconomic exclusion. However, whereas historically the exclusionary practices were racially-based, today the extent and depth of inequality in South Africa is increasingly intersectional. Although it continues to impact black South Africans the most, it strikes at race, gender, class and age. Over 55 percent of South Africans continue to live in poverty and unemployment sits at 25 percent.

All hope is not lost, however. The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has founded a new center, the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, that will drive a five-year-long, interdisciplinary project. It will include approximately 80 researchers from across the country: economists, historians, legal academics, healthcare experts, sociologist and other disciplines.

The most promising hope yet for combating inequality in South Africa comes from the implementation of the National Development Plan. The plan seeks to reduce inequality and eliminate poverty by 2030 by “drawing on the energies of the country’s people.” Some of the key points include: increasing employment to 24 million, ensuring all children can read and write by the third grade and providing affordable healthcare and a public transit system. It also aims to strengthen the criminal justice system, including governmental accountability. “Progress over the next two decades means doing things differently,” the plan states.

In detail, the plan calls for:

  • infrastructure investment set at 10 percent of the country’s global domestic product (GDP).
  • raising rural incomes.
  • strengthening social wages.
  • professional public service.
  • private investment to boost labor.
  • housing market gaps to be closed.
  • informal settlements to be upgraded.

After handing over the plan to President Jacob Zuma, Minister Trevor Manuel stated that “social cohesion needs to anchor the strategy.”

South Africa’s apartheid era formally came to an end in April of 1994. Less than a month later, in May of 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black, democratically elected president. The exclusionary system that Mandela grew up in is still widely overreaching within the country, but as the nine provinces continue to work together, there will be hope. Inequality in South Africa does not have to be a perpetuation.

– Aaron Stein

Photo: Flickr

Top Nine Nelson Mandela Quotes About Education

Nelson Mandela was a man who carried varied and numerous titles throughout his life. He was, among other things, a revolutionary, nonviolence anti-apartheid activist, philanthropist, human rights activist, the first black president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He even went through 27 years in prison for his efforts to bring harmony and equality to South Africa. One of his great legacies was his contributions to education.

Nelson Mandela Quotes about Education

Mandela recognized education as a great vehicle to bring equality of opportunity to the world. Here are nine Nelson Mandela quotes about education:

  • “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
  • “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”
  • “Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders.”
  • “Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savour their songs.”
  • “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”
  • “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
  • “It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.”

The man’s inspiring life story has touched even more people’s lives than his quotes about education. The many funds and foundations he established during his lifetime continue to help and advocate for the causes he cared about; such causes include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

Institute for Education and Rural Development

As for the education sector, in particular, The Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development provides education for rural children in South Africa that encounter educational barriers such as collapsing classrooms, leaking roofs, shortages of desks and shortages of teachers.

The institute creates tools and methods to develop teacher training systems, works with the community, refurbishes classrooms and helps students develop their language skills as well as their confidence.

The Gift of Education

The gift of education is indeed something to be celebrated. To work towards Mandela’s honorable vision of a free and equal society, the world will require the knowledge, resources and insight that education brings. The Nelson Mandela quotes about education featured above express why education is so important.

Education is an investment essential to empowering individuals to reach their full potential and to make their own positive impact on the world.

– Connie Loo

Photo: Flickr