n Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie - Onderwys, die weg na lewenskwaliteit - die optimale realisering van die reg op lewe - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0254-3486
  • E-ISSN: 2222-4173



Against the background of the aims as expressed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, namely to improve the quality of life of all citizens and to free everyone's potential, the perplexities of the right to life is studied. The aim hereof is to conceptually articulate this pivotal right and outline it as inclusive of the entitlement to what is necessary for the safeguarding or provision of a life worth living. An analysis of case law revealed that, when dealing with the right to life, courts almost always placed emphasis on the right to die with dignity or not to die at all. This is done within the ambit of circumstances entailing among others abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, self-defence and access to health care. This article however takes a different stance of the right to life by arguing that reality in its diversity is encapsulated in life both as the wholeness of an individual and society at large and the nodal point of human existence. The importance of researching education as a path to a quality of life is evident when cognisance is taken of the fact that, although initiatives taken by the State have thus far been a step in the right direction for some South African citizens to report a good quality of life, the majority still struggles because of the social divisions and inequalities that remain (SASAS 2008). It is argued that the right to life must be conceptualised as an entitlement to a life with human dignity, knowledge, self-confidence and self-respect, thus encapsulating a quality of life. Although the State is constitutionally obliged to fulfil the basic needs of all its citizens, it is clearly stated that humans must accept responsibility for their own as well as the life of others. They cannot merely rely on others for their own well-being. Humans must, by way of quality education, be moulded and guided to self-determination and self-entitlement. Only then can man change and even create his own circumstances in order to ensure a quality of life for himself and others. Education has the potential to empower humans to take control of their own destiny (Krause 2012:49; Spinner-Halev 2012:169), to make rational and informed decisions and to choose the conditions under which they live (Rodin 2004:65). Education can, moreover, empower them to democratic participation (Freire 1993:12) and to hold the State accountable for protecting their rights and taking the necessary steps to meet their needs adequately. Cognisance must, however, be taken of the fact that South Africans cannot be seen as individuals apart from their country and people. In contrast to the individualistic nature of Western cultures, South Africans underscore the principle of ubuntu - the individual is part of a whole; he is a human-human: he belongs, therefore he exists (De Klerk 2012:35). The importance of receiving a quality education to realise optimally each South African's right to life whilst respecting diversity, is accordingly found to be essential.

Die gekompliseerdheid van die reg op lewe word teen die agtergrond van die doelwitte van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika, naamlik om die lewenskwaliteit van alle landsburgers te verbeter en om elkeen se potensiaal te bevry, ondersoek. Die doel is om hierdie deurslaggewende reg konseptueel duidelik te verwoord en dit as inklusief van die reg tot dit wat nodig is vir die sekerheidstelling of voorsiening van 'n lewe wat die moeite werd is om te leef, te beskryf. 'n Analise van regspraak dui daarop dat, wanneer howe met die reg op lewe handel, hulle bykans altyd klem plaas op die reg om met waardigheid te sterf of nie te sterf nie. Dit word gedoen binne die bestek van omstandighede wat onder andere aborsie, genadedood, die doodstraf, die neem van 'n lewe in selfverdediging en toegang tot gesondheidsorg insluit. Hierdie artikel neem egter 'n ander standpunt ten opsigte van die reg op lewe in deur te argumenteer dat die realiteit in sy diversiteit omsluit word in die reg op lewe as die heelheid van 'n individu en die breë gemeenskap sowel as die kern van menslike bestaan. Die belangrikheid van die ontvangs van 'n kwaliteit onderwys ter optimale realisering van hierdie reg word dienooreenkomstig bevind as synde essensieel.

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