Riley Jacobs* is more anxious than he is angry. Eleven schools in Cape Town's suburbs rejected his Grade R son's application for entrance into Grade 1 in 2018. The father's e-mail to me was moving: "PLEASE could you assist us in getting our son into a good school next year. PLEASE." Riley's problem: the catchment area. The Jacobs family lives in a township surrounded by low-quality and seriously dysfunctional schools. If the little boy gets stuck in those schools, the Jacobs family and every other resident of his neighbourhood knows, the child has no future.

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