The writer says while some people aspire to reach Mars and have camera crews follow them, others are struggling to survive. Picture: WallyPacholka/

If it is possible to raise funds for trips to Mars, it should be possible to raise funds for houses, says Fathima Moosajee.

Johannesburg - On Wednesday January 22, I read an article in The Star about eight South Africans who proceeded to the second round of testing for suitable candidates to take a trip to Mars in 2025. They said they would raise money by selling licences to TV cameras that will follow them throughout their trip.

I think this is particularly unfair. There are people in our country who do not have roofs over their heads or food on their tables, who can’t afford a “normal” life.

Instead of raising money privately for school fees for those who can’t afford a good education or building houses for the people in the Lehae township, people are determined to raise money for a trip to Mars.

Are we so greedy to do such things just to benefit ourselves and build our self-images instead of building homes?

Those who are going on the trip will not come back and yet we have people starving trying to stay alive. During the recent cold front, I saw many people who had their homes flooded, and have been suffering in this weather because of the lack of basic needs. If we could conduct blanket-giving schemes and work together to raise money for the poor and needy while putting smiles on their faces, then going to Mars shouldn’t be seen as something that will benefit mankind. Ending the struggle of starvation will benefit mankind.

I attend a school in an area called Rosettenville in the south of Joburg. The surrounding streets are filled with homeless, poor people who live their lives at the local shebeen on Lang Street because they have no money or opportunity to do anything with their lives. Yet those who are part of the upper class are fighting for a place on a spaceship to Mars.

The point I’m trying to make is that it is not necessary for us to visit other planets when there are thousands of people who are already hurting on the planet on which we live.

If it is possible to raise funds for excursions to Mars, it should be possible to raise funds so that the majority of this country can live in strong and sturdy houses.

I believe we need to re-evaluate our priorities so that we are all able to live in a free and fair society.

Fathima Moosajee

Bassonia, Joburg

The Star