Dying for an education. That’s the reality for scores of South African children every year.
They drown in rivers walking to school. They die in overloaded bakkies being taken to school. And they die falling into crude pit toilets, which are still the norm at hundreds of rural schools.
The latest pit toilet drowning occurred last week at a school in the Eastern Cape.
Five-year-old Viwe Jali fell into one and couldn’t get out. The incident occurred even as the country was awaiting the results of an inquiry into the death of Michael Komape in similar circumstances in 2014.
There have been plenty of people who have leapt to the easy conclusion that these deaths are, somehow, the legacy of apartheid.
And while we acknowledge that the inequalities which still exist in this country are the inheritance of a colonial system, we do not accept that, in 24 years since the advent of democracy, the question of ablution facilities at schools could not have been addressed.
There is plenty of money for luxury cars for ministers, bloated tenders for pals, luxury overseas trips for ministers. And to pay for Jacob’s Zuma defence on corruption charges.
Why should the children still suffer?