On the illiteracy rate: stop murdering our children’s future!

South Africa continues the apartheid practice of murdering the futures of black children. According to research from the University of Pretoria, almost 80% of Grade 4 learners are illiterate in our country. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) released a report of studies done between 2011 and 2016 on Grade 4 illiteracy levels and it found that out of 50 countries studied, South Africa came at the bottom. These children have spent four years of their lives in school yet they have been horribly failed by a system that claims to prepare them to be productive adults.

The government has failed our children. The teachers have failed the black child. Political parties and civil society organizations have also failed the children. What have each one of us done to ensure these children are prepared to be productive, well adjusted, critical and autonomous members of society with the correct love and patriotism for the country and continent?

BLF calls on society to stand up. Let’s all play our part. Let’s also force government to play its part. We need to start from an admission that South Africa has a massive education crisis for the black child. We must not even think about matric because then, it’s too late. We must not sell snake oil cures by trying to psyche children to high achievement when we know they have been systematically sabotaged at the lower grades.

Academic achievement is not an impossibility and must not be mystified and hyped up. We must prepare our children through the normal process of preparing learners to master the ABC’s of numeracy and literacy. It’s a big indictment on all of us that countries with even less per capita income are doing considerably better than South Africa in literacy rates.

We need urgent, extraordinary and innovative interventions. BLF calls on all to pause and reflect. We need to get the country and its children reading. We need to get the Zimbabweans with O and A levels into our schools to co-teach and do extra teaching lessons on the critical subjects of English, mathematics and science. We need the country’s celebrities in schools reading. We need our media helping with practical programmes to advance literacy. The church and traditional leaders must play their role too.

BLF believes we can turn the situation around in five years. Cuba did it. Zimbabwe did it. We can do it too!


6 December 2017

Contact Details
Black First Land First
Mail: [email protected]­gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(BLF Deputy President)
Cell: +27 79 986 7225

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Brian Tloubatla
(Deputy National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 82 216 7664

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