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...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now