Township kids indebted to parents for Model C schooling

Children from South African townships owe their parents a “debt” for investing in their education in city schools, according to researcher Mark Hunter.

Hunter was speaking about his research on different educational systems at Wits University earlier this week. “Education individualises relationships. Debts are formed through education”, said Hunter.

According to his research, South Africa accommodates two educational systems, one for the rich and the other for the poor.

Hunter also said poor, single-salaried households that can decide to invest in only one child’s education, suggesting that in a household “you can have people who eat from the same pot, but have different educational prospects”.

Security officer at WAM (Wits Arts Museum), Norman Hlongwane has three children, but only pays school fees for the two older ones in Limpopo.

“I pay R600,00 every month for my children’s school fees”, said Hlongwane. He says he doesn’t expect his children to repay him: “I’m helping them – that is the process”.

Charlene Manuel, a shop assistant in Braamfontein gives her mother, who helped to pay for Manuel’s education, R2000, 00  a month for groceries but doesn’t expect her daughter to do the same for her.

“I wouldn’t expect her to pay me back – but help around”, said Manuel.

Thabo Sinyongo, one of the attendees at Hunter’s seminar, moved from a township to a model C school and sees a benefit in these schools.

“It adds to the social capital that is born through these connections”, said Sinyongo.