By Victor Angula |

A white child sits in a cot made of fine material, the colour of which is golden, and the comfort of the crib is unimaginable, while the comfort of the home environment is indescribable. In addition, the cot is mobile – it has wheels.

The child can barely talk nor understand the meaning of basic words. But the mother is excitedly talking to the child: “You’re a master. You’re the master of your destiny, master of your environments and circumstances. You’re a master!”

This type of talk continues through the child’s adolescence and teen years. And when the child has become a young adult, the family talk that he/she has been receiving since those golden cot years becomes the most significant definer and determiner of his/her destiny.

In the search of a career and livelihood the young white person knows through the marrows of his/her bones that he/she is a master, someone who can’t settle for less.

Across on the other side of the same municipality is a whole community of black children who were born in ghettos, slums and corrugated iron shacks, children who from the very first day they are born and they start to breath in the smell of human waste from broken sewerage pipes or the smell coming from river beds where open defecation is the order of the day, the child knows for sure that his/her life amounts to nothing.

The child grows up in a broken home and broken community; and he/she can hope for and expect nothing but a broken life.

The child’s self-esteem is damaged from the moment the child is brought from the hospital maternity ward to a ghetto home.

Without decent housing the effect on children’s early childhood cognitive development, and on their self-concept and self-esteem is bad. Children born and who grew up in hovels or ghettos or huts are likely to live their lives there despite the modern age of digital technology because they have such low self-esteem.

The children grow up into adults who then go around living their lives with self-imposed limitations; they believe consciously and subconsciously that they don’t have any power, any power at all over their lives let alone over their government.

In fact they believe that it’s a miracle that they are still alive when the whole world conspired against them from the day they were born so that nothing is ever in their favour.

This is why they don’t think long-term. At school such children will not attempt anything resembling mathematics and science. In the commercial world they will not dream big, plan big and take big risks. Such children will never believe it even if they are told that the chains which bind anyone into a life of poverty are in the mind.

Like an elephant that has been tied to a pole with a cotton thread ever since it was a baby, a child born in a ghetto is not likely to break free from poverty.

In the photo: A local banking institution uses this image of “master” to promote its ‘Gold Lifestyle Account’.