In a poor, rural township about 66km west of Klerksdorp, with a sparse population, the government built a “state-of-the-art library” to the tune of R12m. The Letsopa Community Library was truly something special – it had a toy library section for small children and a library division for the blind. This rich educational resource had been serving the poorest of communities for the past five years. Then last week a group of locals got angry and burned the library down.

Think about it. We have white, privileged schools around SA with impressive facilities such as state-of-the-art computer labs and Astroturf surfaces for hockey existing a short drive from black schools where children drown in their own shit. Huge inequalities developed over more than a century. Then we start to rebuild, 25 years since the end of legal apartheid, and one of the things we do with taxpayers’ money is to build a modern, inclusive and accessible library in a dusty township so that our children can acce...

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