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Matric Farewell Address by the Acting Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms. Grizelda Cjiekella

Farewell Address by the Acting Premier of the Northern Cape, Honourable Ms Grizelda Cjiekella at the JTG Grade 12 Learners Year End Function, 17 October 2012

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Programme Director
HOD Pharasi, Chief Directors, Senior Managers and Departmental Officials
Officials and Members of School Governing Bodies present
Parents, Principals and Educators
Honoured Guests
The JTG Class of 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are gathered here to commemorate the journey that we have travelled together as Parents, Educators, Officials, Learners, and all relevant Stakeholders, since the beginning of the year, and indeed since the beginning of our study camps.

Ladies and Gentlemen, government together with our social partners remain committed to ensuring that no deserving young person, from whatever walk or station in life, is denied the opportunity of developing to their fullest potential through a lack of resources.

In this regard, right from the outset, I take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the following donors and partners in this noble cause of securing the future and education of our learners from the John Taolo Gaetsewe district, who would have been condemned to a life ignorance, servitude and underdevelopment through no fault of their own.

In this regard, the Sishen Iron Ore Company - Community Development Trust; the JTG Development Trust; the Gamagara Development Trust and by no means the least, the Tsantsabane Forum.

Thank you once again for your continued generous support. NaGomso! Le Ka Moso!

I must say that the year 2012, with all its paradoxes, could well signal the beginning of greater things to come in the history of our country, and I am glad to say that, you, the class of 2012, are the pacesetters - the change makers.

By the time I end this speech, you will truly agree with me, that the change you so heartily desire has begun with you and you have all that it takes to make it happen.

HOD Pharasi, this day undoubtedly marks a significant milestone on the calendar of the department, whichever way one looks at it.

Indeed all of our learners, parents, educators and officials should look back with pride on the remarkable job they have done to prepare the eventful class of 2012 for their final hurdle.

Programme Director, ecstatic as we are, we remain mindful to remember that a milestone does not signify the end of the road, but rather it signifies the end of one stretch and the beginning of another; And this holds very true for our matric learners tonight.

The role that you have been catapulted into, resulting in your presence here, has forced you to grow up overnight and make decisions that will live and affect you for the rest of your lives.

I wish you well and hope that you will be matured enough to realize that our country and this province in particular will be the poorer without young people of your calibre.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to address our Grade twelve (12) learners before the official start of the final National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations on Monday.

We firmly believe that through the efforts of young people like you, our communities will stop to be the reservoirs of cheap and unskilled labour and become havens of skills and expertise.

The class of 2012; I have no doubt that as you are seated here tonight, you All have a dream; a dream bigger than yourself!

You all have a goal that aims to become the best that you can be!

When I was a youngster, little did I know that I will be standing here today to deliver this speech!

I did not even have the faintest idea of how my life was going to be, but I had one thing, I had dream!

That got me started on the discovery process of 'who am I’.

I read all that I could find and did all I could do, to get here, and I still do. I may not have arrived yet, but I am enjoying the journey!

Indeed like so many leaders and so many people on journeys of discovery do, I messed up so many times; was knocked down but not knocked out!

Similarly, you are going to face so many battles; you will win some, and lose some, either way keep fighting for your dreams.

Like many before and after me, I pushed through the stormy weather; went through dark valleys; climbed mountains but I never gave up because I had a dream.

As you graduate into the real world of adulthood, you will be confronted with profound choices that will determine your future role in the society and most importantly your contribution to the development of our province and our country – and most significantly, the improvement of the lives of your families and your communities!

One thing that will keep you going at all times is your passion for your dreams.

You must be passionate about life; your dreams and goals.

The journey of success as you set out this day is not going to be easy, it will be a tough, long road of loneliness; you will encounter wolves; there will be delays, disappointments, detours, protests and unrests! But in all this keep hope alive, do not ever give up on that one thing – your dream!

You may need to start small on your big dreams, but do not give up on them, those little beginnings have seeds of greatness in them!

Our parents will tell you that Life is an art and everyone is an artist, or can be an artist.

At some point in our lives, we are all presented with the same colours of life, to paint the portrait of our lives and our world.

The wisdom and the ability to mix these colours to plan your life and your world will cause you to succeed and excel.

You need to identify your natural talents and abilities, and sharpen them, working on them daily until you are skilled, and then looking out for the golden opportunities in life; and if you don't find them you create them!

The real artists, like you, will be mixing the colours and creating new worlds, better worlds, making the world a better place with their skill, passions and abilities.

This is what the world is crying out for, and you have all that it takes to be, to do, and to have, what you want!

Do not let fears of the unknown stop you!

Always remember this - twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did not do than by the ones you did do.

Furthermore, the artist in this age sees the advancement in technology as a tool to expand the unlimited possibilities available.

Go out and dig deep for knowledge and skills; embrace the internet age and make the most of it; taking the rural to global.

The time has come for all our young people, regardless of where they live and come from; the time has come for us to rise up and build.

Use the tools and resources our democracy has availed to build your dreams, to build the nation and the society and country we seek.

The time is now to excuse our excuses and be committed to the task at hand.

As I conclude, I would like to remind you that life is like a cup of coffee.

A group of graduates, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.

Predictably, their conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “if you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.

While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups.

They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savour the coffee, not the cups!

The happiest people do not necessarily have the best of everything.

They just make the best of everything.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

In reference to this story, as you step out to live your dream life you will find out that shortly after school some of your colleagues will marry, others will travel, sign contracts with big companies, build multi-national firms, be famous,…. And some will be sitting at home.

You will be forced to compare and complain, especially if things are not working out in your favour.

The point is this, we are each responsible for the choices we make or refuse to make.

We have the choice from this day to design the kind of life that we want with the resources, skills and talents that we have.

Decide this day to make the best of choices and work relentlessly towards it.

Do not let anyone talk you out of your dreams. It is your life and your dream.

Whatever you desire to achieve and dream of becoming begin today; now is the time to set off and live that dream!

My advice to you is to build bridges between yourself and others; between your discipline and others; between your culture and others.

The advantage of being human is collaboration.

Each one of you has travelled your own road to get here, but you are here together on the threshold of your future.

You are brimming with confidence, filled with justified optimism and hope, and ready for the infinite possibilities and opportunities that await you.

What we see in you; what your parents, relatives and friends see in you is the pride and future of our province, our country and our continent.

We are here today, in our numbers because we believe in you; we believe in you because you believe in yourselves.

It is your self confidence that unshakeable belief in yourselves that what will carry you through moments of doubt, when the path before you seems blocked, when you believe the river runs too deep to cross.

As the Japanese say: “None of us is smarter than all of us”.

You have what it takes, rise up and make it happen!

Above all enjoy life.

Thank you.

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