One of our former Learning Center students recently told me that he is applying to the Royal Marines in Great Britain. As one of our favorite personalities from past classes, it was reassuring to hear that he wanted to dedicate at least this portion of his life to defending democracy and justice. Regardless of whether or not he’ll be accepted as a part of England’s naval forces, his choice prompted a conversation concerning the desire to travel so far to serve as a soldier. The conclusion was simple: South Africa does not have any real enemies. He would probably never have to fight in a war here.
As I pondered this probability, I thought about how false the statement actually was. South Africa is in a war and has a very real need for soldiers in this hour. Although there are no guns pointing at South Africa, its people still live in fear. Crime statistics in certain cities in the country make Chicago, one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., seem safe. Although the economy fares better than many other African nations, one in four South Africans live on a dollar a day. Education is also a major issue. Last year it was reported that only half of the students that started school 12 years ago actually made it to graduation, and only a percentage of that number passed the national exam in order to graduate. Further, recent assessments have found that a majority of the students in the country cannot read or count. There are certainly many more issues that South Africans have to deal with on a daily basis, and there are no real solutions in sight.
The war that South Africans are fighting has to do with, in my opinion, the roots of the problems outlined above. They include corruption and ignorance. National leaders steal money and look out for themselves while having no clue as to how to address the ills of the nation. Businesses pay extraordinary taxes which limit the number of jobs they can create. Some individuals feel that their poverty permits them to rob and kill as the police force looks the other way; others sit idle, unskilled, uneducated, and unprepared to take control of their lives.
South Africa is locked in a war within itself. If corruption and ignorance are the main enemies, they can only be defeated by truth and knowledge. Hearts must change. Souls must be converted. The will of the nation must shift from demanding entitlements to working to build a nation that cares for itself. Corrupt leaders must be replaced with noble men and women who will stand on principle with courage. Students must be given access to quality education so that they can possess the promises of tomorrow. The very way that people think has to be altered. Worldviews must change. This is the goal of Goshen International. This is what we are doing…one child at a time.