Meyer London said that. So does anyone out there have a positive view of conscription? I can’t seem to find any positive quotes about it!
Round about the time when the apartheid laws were abolished, conscription went along with all of it. What used to happen was that South African men between the ages of 18 and 24 (I think it was 24 years old) had to spend a mandatory two years doing their national service in the defense force- either in the army, navy or air force. I think they were allowed to postpone for a time if they were studying- but eventually they had to go.
I have always said (and you know how often conscription comes up in conversation) that I thought it was fabulous to get guys out of the house and teach them to live independently for a while- especially the guys who had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives. For the most part, after two years the guys came out as adults, free of mommy’s apron strings and confident in their abilities to handle just about anything life threw at them.* I mean- how can one not feel empowered in life if you have fired a massive canon mounted on a tank… for example.
Overall I think it’s a marvelous idea! And it seems I’m not alone… our very own Labour Minister, Membathisi Mdladlana also thinks so. And before he gets fired for speaking so radically, I suggest you read the articles for all the details. Basically he thinks conscription and national service would be a solution to all the young people turning to crime for an income! I dunno if it would have a huge impact on crime… but I do think some direction would be fabulous for most of the young people in our country. They would no longer be unemployed for one thing!
Honestly- if conscription were brought back to South Africa- I may very well consider sending Damien. And if I could I’d make sure it was somewhere far away.
*Obviously conscription and national service didn’t work for everyone, there are always exceptions… and I must re-iterate, the only people I know well who did national service are my dad and some cousins, so I’m working on hearsay here