first_imgThe exercise of our rights should not compromise another’s. How then are we living up to the responsibilities required by the exercise of our rights, asks Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola (Image: Shamin Chibba) It’s everyone’s responsibility to lend a hand to efforts to build SA as we celebrate our rights in freedom, says Brand South Africa chief executive officer Miller Matola.“Freedom Month conjures up the memory of victory over oppression in 1994. A culmination of many people making great sacrifices for our liberty.Our freedom did not come free.So much blood was spilt to reverse the disenfranchisement of our people.The right to vote that we now take for granted was something for which countless people paid with their lives.Every right comes with a responsibility and the right to vote equally comes with responsibilities.It is for this reason that this election must stir a new consciousness about our responsibilities as citizens of a democratic country.Our constitution guides us on how to exercise our rights.The exercise of our rights should not compromise another’s. How then are we living up to the responsibilities required by the exercise of our rights?Are we among the millions who will sit at home on May 7 and refrain from expressing our choice about who will run our country for the next five years?Are we among those who won’t take the responsibility of voting seriously?After voting, how do we play our part in holding our leaders accountable?How many times in the past 20 years have we attempted to go through draft legislation that affect our lives?Are we part of a handful who show up for public hearings to consider laws that shape our democracy?Or are we among those who complain about the laws after they are passed?Before we protest, do we give input into how our municipalities should be run? How should we celebrate these freedoms?Recently there was a big debate triggered by the question: Should graduates do community service?Medical graduates have been doing it for the longest time.No one has questioned why.It was taken for granted that if the state spent seven years supporting and subsidising your education it’s logical that you have to give something back. No one has asked why this only applies to medical graduates and not others who have received similar subsidies.I believe the time has come for all of us to ask when we are going to give of ourselves to improve the lives of others.Entitlement – in which we only focus on rights and not responsibilities – has to be replaced by service to others, which is a key ingredient in building a new culture that enables and strengthens social cohesion.The biggest slice of the national budget goes to education, but this does not remove the responsibilities of parents to be involved in their children’s education.It is clear that such involvement is scant.Surely parents should have raised alarm bells way before the June exams. But it is clear that many were not even aware that textbooks were missing.This is worrisome as it underlines a trend where we believe that the government must do everything.The culture of volunteerism is poor.This may be linked to the high unemployment rates, but it is not the end of the story.Even among the gainfully employed, the culture of giving of time for community is eroding fast. This has to be revived if we are to build a new society.Ask yourself as an individual, in the midst of hunger: How am I sharing the little food I have?Are there people next door who can use the clothes you have not worn for the past five years and are about to throw away?In the midst of illiteracy, what role are you playing in your community to support education? Is it not possible to use some of your disposable income to take just one child to school so they can have a better life?How are we playing our part in efforts to curb crime? Have we desisted from buying stolen goods?Do we speak out against corruption where we know it to be going on?If we consider these effortless things we may well be on our way to ensuring that the rights bestowed on us are matched with responsibilities.This way we can play our part in building a new society that does not merely look to the government to prosper, but looks deep within its own resourcefulness.”First published in The Starlast_img read more

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, July 22, 2017 – Nassau – Some 100 plus children are enrolled in Fort Charlotte’s Urban Renewal Summer Camp and although now into week two, the numbers continue to swell.Led by a team of 11 leaders, the children take time out of their 4-hour day to focus on the Urban Renewal Summer Camp theme “It’s a Bahamian Thing”.“During the downtime we try to hone in on Bahamian culture to make the kids more aware of our culture and the meaning of what it is. We are starting from young so we can mold them into their culture so they can understand who they are and build national Bahamian pride. Not knowing their heritage is like a tree with no root,” said Christina Sweeting, coordinator for the Camp.Ms. Sweeting indicated that the children take a daily walk through the Bahamian islands in the classrooms at Greater Chippingham Church of God. Billboards erected in the classrooms are fully decorated with Bahamian crafts depicting national heroes, Bahamian artwork and more. This allows them to make the journey around The Bahamas.The children also participate in devotions, make crafts and are instructed in subjects including sports, English Language and History. Pep talks on bullying, nutrition and dos and don’ts about summer are presented. Weekly field trips, T-shirts and fully balanced meals are also provided for the children.They were busy rehearsing a musical selection for the Closing ceremony when the team from BIS stopped by on Thursday.“Every Camp is expected to give a presentation at the Closing Ceremony. Our contribution is the choir,” said Ms. Sweeting. “We are trying to build a Fort Charlotte Community Choir so we are beginning with the kids who come to the Camp.”Superintendent Dencil Barr said as a result of the formation of the choir, the children are able to show they have developed synergy from what they have been exposed to in such a short time.Visitors including the Hon. Mark Humes, Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte, and representatives of Baha Juice and Beverages also visited the happy campers on Thursday.Baha Juice donated several cases of fresh, natural, organic juice to the camp. Director Levin Wilson said his company was “excited” about giving the product to the children.On the other hand, Mr. Humes plans to direct the campers in a few songs.The children who range in age from 5 to 15 represent neighborhoods including Fort Charlotte. According to Superintendent Barr, many of them were enrolled as a result of recruitment exercises undertaken by his staff members. “We did walkabouts throughout the neighborhoods and urged parents to enroll. The parents know of the positivity of Urban Renewal. That is why we have such a great response.”The Urban Renewal Summer Camp is sponsored by the Urban Renewal Commission of the Ministry of Social Services.Press Release: BISPHOTO CAPTIONS: The Hon. Mark Humes interacts with the campers and Superintendent Dencil Barr watches as the children perform.(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)last_img read more