Programme Directors; Nelvis Qekema and Tshatha Ngobe;

Inkosi Ntshangase;

The Zululand District Municipality Mayor, Cllr Hlatshwayo;

Mayors from five local municipalities;

The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Minister Pandor;

Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Prof. Mkhize,

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana;

MEC for Education of KwaZulu-Natal, Mss Peggy Nkonyeni;

Director-General from the Department of Social Development; Mr Coceko Pakade

Amakhosi aphakathi kwethu;


Ladies and gentlemen:


It is a pleasure to be here today with so many learners and members of the general public.  I am also extremely grateful to Minister Pandor and my colleagues, the Deputy Ministers of Higher Education and Training and of Telecommunications and Postal Services, for taking time off their busy schedule to join us this afternoon.  For those of you who might not know, Prof. Mkhize comes from the area of eDlebe, right here in Mahlabatini.  Umkhaya wami, umkhaya wethu.

While I am honoured to be joined by the Honourable Minister Pandor and the two Deputy Ministers, I am especially happy to see so many learners here, because you are the reason why we are here today.  I want you to know that you are important to all of us.  We are here because we want to invest in you, because we know that by doing so we will be investing to a better tomorrow, where there will be no poverty, patriarchy, sickness, crime, joblessness and underdevelopment.

We all know that poverty occurs because of economic disparity, which is caused by discriminatory income levels.  I told you that Prof. Mkhize comes from eDlebe, but today she is a Member of Parliament and a Deputy Minister.  She grew up eating porridge, like many of us.  She went to school barefoot, like many of us.  So, her achievements were nurtured by acute poverty, moulded by walking long distances to school on an empty stomach.

Why am I telling you this?  . Well, I am telling you this because I want you to understand that anything is possible as long you have a dream.  But having a dream alone does not guarantee that you will achieve what you want.  Working hard towards achieving your dream is what stands between success and failure.  Successful people today were once your age.  Many once lived in abject poverty.  They went to school with holes in the soles of their shoes, but this did not prevent them from achieving their goals.

Therefore, your background should never stop you from succeeding.  Not having the basic necessities should not be a barrier to a better tomorrow.  We all know that for those living in destitute poverty, providing food, clean water, shelter and medical care are the most critical needs.  But once these needs are met, the person's "information poverty" has to be addressed.  That is why we are gathered here today – to address this critical issue of information poverty.

It has been proven that television helps poverty-stricken people to see what it's like not to be poor.  With the proper training, can you imagine what people could learn on the Internet about farming, sanitation, food and water, diseases and their government?  Think about the advances that could be made to link citizens with government services and keeping government officials accountable for their actions.

That is why we need science and technology.  That is why you should study mathematics and science, because these two subjects will open doors for you to do anything and everything.  Do you know that even sports stars like Itumeleng Khune need to refine techniques to excel, as he has to estimate how many steps to take to make those daring penalty saves!  Isn't that mathematics?

Ubuchwepheshe sebuguqule izimpilo zethu zaba ngcono kakhulu namuhla kunangesikhathi esedlule. Ubuchwepheshe busengenza inamuhla liqhakaze kakhulu kunayizolo. Yingakho nginikhuthaza futhi ngininxenxa ukuba nithathe lomgudu weSayensi ukuze izwe lethu liqhakaze. Indawo yaseZululand idinga osoSayensi abasha ukuze iguquke. Izwe laseNingizimu Afrika lidinga intsha eqeqeshwe yagogoda kwezoBuchwepheshe ukuze lithuthuke. Labo soSayensi bangaphuma la phakathi kwethu; bangaphuma KwaNongoma naseBaqulusini.

Uhulumeni uvule izandla, wabeka izizumbulu zemali ukuxhasa labobafundi abafuna ukuthatha umkhakha weScience ne Technology. Lemali akusiyo eyabathile abahlala emadolobheni nabafunda ezikoleni ezibizayo, kepha ibekelwe ukusiza noma yimuphi umfundi ozimisele ukwenza izifundo ze-Maths ne Science. Akubhekwa ukuthi uzalwa ubani nokuthi uqhamuka kuyiphi indawo.

When you pick up your cellphone to call a friend, use the Internet to Google, switch on your television to watch your favourite show, all this is possible because of technology. 

Did you know that you can now buy all your groceries online and pay bills while you are seated in the comfort of your home?  I am sure that you are all aware that you can deposit money without having to go to the bank, and that a doctor in Durban can diagnose you while you are in your local clinic.  In this day and age, weather forecasters can tell you if a storm is coming or excessive heat is on the way.  They do not throw bones or use holy water, but they use satellites in space to get the information.  That is technology.  I cannot imagine how complicated life would be without science.

Humanity is facing major challenges to ensure the adequate provision of basic necessities, such as food, shelter, a clean and healthy environment and proper education for the growing population of planet Earth.  Only through sustainable development can we hope to address these challenges – otherwise we will expose ourselves to additional challenges.

Let me tell you something you might not know: one of the first things that happen when a coup occurs is the seizure of the national media, typically radio and newspapers, so the new regime can control the flow of information.  However, it would be much more difficult to control the Internet.  Simply put, it would be difficult to "spin doctor" technology.  So, having technology know-how means that it would be difficult for someone to control you.  Clearly, technology gives you power to take control of your own life, your own destiny.

Technology has and continues to contribute to sustainable development and offers many benefits to mankind.  For example, in the Cofimvaba District of the Eastern Cape, there's an upsurge of technology as a high-tech e-learning experiment is being rolled-out.  This project is being used to see whether and how technology can improve teaching in rural areas.  But this is not all; the entire programme is envisaged to tackle the area's sanitation challenges through research, innovation and technology.

Technology has site2016d our lives.  It has prolonged lifespans.  TB patients are no longer dying in large numbers as in the past, because of technology that assists in treatment.  One of the biggest benefits for the world at large would be a breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV and AIDS through science and technology.  Already, millions of HIV-positive people are on ARVs and lead normal lives.  Furthermore, they no longer have to take three to five pills as there is now a fixed-dose combination medication, which reduces the risk of patients defaulting in their treatment.

Combining the five pills into one fixed-dose was not made possible by magicians or prophets; but by scientists.  Right now, scientists are working around the clock to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and, as a Department, we are confident that the cure will be found sooner rather than later.  Ultimately, the cure will be found.

I am therefore pleading with our youth to study mathematics and science, for this is the future.  The future belongs to you.  A future where there will be no more diseases like Ebola, foot-and-mouth and malaria.  A future where pressing a button will save lives.  Whether you live in a rural or urban area, mathematics and science is the way to go.

I thank you