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Cyprian Fernandes: Thoughts on the Goan future in Kenya

Our Future
 by the Editor, Christie D'Souza

In the past, though majoriy of Goans were employed in Government and Railway Administration, there were still many who had engaged themselves in the various trades and worked independently. There were still many who were absorbed by commercial firms. To-day there are hardly any business houses of Goans left and the only occupation taken up by our young men is of clerical nature. How long this avenue will remain open for Goans is a doubtful proposition. African Schools are turning out Africans clerks in mass production and slowly but surely are ousting Goans from their position. Similarly Goan and Indian Schools produce nothing but clerks with a few exceptions.

Daily the competition is becoming keener and if Goans are given any preference at present it is only because full confidence cannot be placed in the Africans yet.  But sooner or later time will come when Goans or Indians will have to make place for them and it would be a sound policy a plan was now devised to meet this eventuality. It would be wise to begin from the bottom and the best place to start would be to reorganise our Schools and its curriculum so that they can impart more practical training to fit our young men in public life and earn their daily bread not by quill driving but by hard manual labour in thc various trades. 

Though there has been much talk on this subject among all communities including European and Indian, the only leader who has given fillip to this theory is H.H. the Aga Khan who has not only by public utterances but by practical means encouraged the Khoja community to give up the idea of being "karanis" and to take up business line. It is due to this that we find to-day that Community is not only rich but unemployment is unknown amongst them. The Khoja Community has encouraged this idea by advancing loans to individuals to open business houses and assist them to establish in trade and to expand their business in various directions. It is time that our leaders, took a heed of the fast moving tide and followed the practical example of the Khoja Community and give a lead to our children and young men in the right direction, otherwise the next few years will find the death knell of our Community.  

Our Community has been too much absorbed in living a society life without caring for the morrow and young men have become prey to easy earning money, but this cannot last too long and time will certainly come when we may have to struggle for a living. It would be wise to take heed of the words which the late Governor of Uganda, Sir Hall uttered to the Uganda Education Association in August 1946. This is what he said: "I am asking you to alter the emphasis of education in Uganda to give it a new slant and I shall tell you why....

The schools to-day are turning out an undue proportion of black coated workers, persons who scorn to use their hands for any purpose more physically exhausting than pushing pens. No sound national economy has ever been based upon black coated workers. Black coated workers don't produce wealth, they exhaust it. They are a species of parasites on the body economic."

These are hard words, none the less very true and unless every Government, every Community and every Mission Society alter their code of education, time may come when there may be enough money with the rich but not enough food, because this has to be produced by manual labour.  Wars have made us easy-going people, time may come when we may be forced to struggle for a full meal a day. These are the problems facing us and must be tackled soon.