Ewan Dawkins’ essay titled “The Socialist Path to Social Justice”, was selected from hundreds of entries in a competition and has been included in an online book: Social Justice Stories: Young People Reflect on HIV, Sexualities, Gender, Race and Inequality. It has been published by the South African Schools Debating Board and the Centre for Sexualities, Aids and Gender of the University of Pretoria.
Schools in Gauteng were invited to send teams of grade 10 to 12 learners, accompanied by their debating teacher, to a one-day workshop on social justice. The workshop explored human rights and social justice in South Africa, and the participants were then invited to write and submit an essay which had social justice as its theme. The most promising essays were selected, feedback was provided, and they were lightly polished for publication. A cross-section of the stories submitted was chosen.
Ewan was in grade 8 when he entered his essay. Of the 24 writers selected only three of them, including Ewan, are currently in grade 9. The majority were in grade 11 when they submitted their pieces.
Ewan is delighted that his article was chosen. “It reflects my views that the racial inequality in our country is tied to the capitalist economic system that exists. I argue that a socialist system would resolve the issue of race.”
It’s not a conventional view at a school like Jeppe, Ewan concedes, but it highlights the basic principles of debating – that you are entitled to your opinions and that you have the right to express them freely. “There are many who don’t agree with me and one or two teachers have argued my points with me, the important thing is that I am allowed to believe what I want to believe.
“Jeppe is a melting pot of different people with different views, mine go against the flow, and that’s OK.”
Well done on having your article published Ewan, and congratulations on having a critical, questioning mind.