Johannesburg - The importance of stories on our struggle icons in underprivileged schools was identified as a key Mandela Day focus at the launch of the Nelson Mandela foundation’s Mandela Day activities.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) accepted a handover of various books on Madiba from primary school children from Roedean and Saheti schools.

According to MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, the Mandela Day campaign was conceptualised in response to calls that all our children should be exposed to the history of stalwarts of our democracy.

“This helps us send a strong message of our past and we will make sure that every library will contain a book on Mandela,” said Lesufi.

“I thank all who have offered to give – through education we can break the shackles of poverty.” To kick off the week leading up to International Mandela Day, the Department of Education invited donations of books, which will be distributed to school libraries in Gauteng.

LeadSA’s Yusuf Abramjee urged citizens to make this the best Mandela Day ever as it is the first since the statesman’s death.

Speaking at the event at the Nelson Mandela centre of memory, veteran struggle icons George Bizos and Ahmed Kathrada both stressed the importance of education and the role books play in igniting the imagination.

They reminded pupils and guests Mandela felt strongly about education and the responsibility falls to everyone to carry his wishes forward.

“With freedom, came responsibility to serve yourself, to serve others and the country,” said Kathrada.

Saturday Star