It dawned on me, very late in life, that one must value the role of education in one’s life. Yes, I did attend school in South Africa, did my homework, got decent grades, but for the most part it was a perfunctory performance and drudgery. My education made no connection to my surroundings or my psychological state as a teenager. Occasionally, the literature classes titillated my curiosity as did the history and geography lessons, about events a long time ago and places far away. All this made me yearn for adventures of my own. Mathematics and physics remained a black hole of incoherence: more truthfully, the physics did make sense. But trigonometry and solving for x, made no real-life connections for me.

On reflection, I was clueless about habits I ought to have cultivated within me. I did not realise how important it was to develop excellence in skills such as punctuality, reading, writing, arithmetic and thinking as life-long assets. I missed the importance of a proper sensibility of morality: to have a heart, a conscience and take an uncompromising stance on human dignity. I am not libelling my parents, for I was not a feral child who was raised by wolves. I was taught to respect others and to care for them, to be truthful and be good, the basics of morality. My point is, I never found a compelling moral narrative coming from within me, what philosophers call personal virtues that would make me acutely aware of the importance of the hallowed things in life. I think it had something to do with gutter ‘apartheid’ education. Or so I like to think.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

Access our entire archive of 350+ articles from the world's leading writers on Islam.
Only £3.30/month, cancel anytime.

Already subscribed? Log in here.

Not convinced? Read this: why should I subscribe to Critical Muslim?


Elsewhere on Critical Muslim: