Our priorities are askew

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Thakane Shale

I MAY not have a child yet but as a person whose varsity education was funded by the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) I can fully appreciate the importance of the fund. I do however fear the fund has spoiled us as it spoiled our parents before us.

I am used, for lack of a better word, by people in my age group screaming holy hell that without the fund their children will not be able to get a varsity education. We are talking, young able-bodied and for the most part gainfully employed people who feel that without NMDS their children’s futures are in great jeopardy. Excuse me Sir, but do you mean to tell me that you cannot afford to start a college fund for your two-year-old daughter who wears Nike sneakers her feet are going to grow out of in a couple of months? Please explain how you can afford a Brazilian weave and spa treatment every month but you cannot invest in your child’s future.

Now I am not against living well if you can afford it. I do believe in perfectly manicured nails to scratch my enemy’s eyes out with but where do we draw the line between living well and stupidity. Perhaps as I am not a mother yet I do understand but what value is there in a five-year-old wearing designer labels from head to toe? We need to check our priorities. Should I also point out that for all our baying about the government stealing from NMDS we too have been stealing from it for years. Raise your hand if you have been faithfully paying the money NMDS spent on your education without the intervention of a debt collection company.

When it comes to our children, our financial priorities leave a lot to be desired. A frozen themed birthday party complete with a jumping castle and a truckload of alcohol for a two-year-old who will not remember the occasion?! That we have the money for. I do not even want to get into why we need all that alcohol for a kiddie party. Fancy clothing and shoes for your child so you can post on the newest #Goals, YES! Alas no one has thought to start a #TrustFundGoals yet. Perhaps that would drive us in the right direction. The sneaker issue really gets to me, why does the baby need #Lit outfits though? It really doesn’t have social plans.

I guess we have always deemed trust funds as a thing that rich and perhaps white people do but we really need to do better than that. All those varsity degrees that the NMDS funded must be put to work. I mean we can afford to pay for a premium DSTV subscription each month. That M650 can make a significant difference in your child’s future if put in the right investment vehicle. As an additional benefit, the child can go play outside and learn to speak Sesotho for a change. There is nothing cute about parents being proud that their young child can only communicate in English, but I digress.

At the end of the day, the NMDS is a fund that we are hoping will be there in years to come for our children and hopefully their children. It is however supposed to fund people who genuinely cannot afford a tertiary education otherwise. We are being as selfish as the politicians we are judging if we are going to expect out Timberland wearing five0year olds to vie for a spot on the NMDS sponsorship that could have been given to a child who comes from a disadvantaged background. Is a legacy of designer clothes, expensive smartphones and a twang all we want to leave for our children?

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