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More than 10 000 people attended a march in Cape Town on Sunday to appeal to the Department of Education to build libraries in all schools in the country, said the campaign organiser, Equal Education.
Spokesperson Yoliswa Dwane, said only eight percent of public schools in the country had fully functional libraries.
The group, which included Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Nobel Prize winner Nobel Prize winning author, Wole Soyinka and Cheryl Carolus delivered a memorandum.
The memorandum signed by 50 000 people was handed over to director general of basic education, Bobby Soobrayan.
Vavi pledged Cosatu's full support for the campaign, encouraged teachers to support it and to play a greater role in improving the education system.
He also encouraged students to be disciplined, to arrive at school on time and do their homework.
Phathiswa Shushwana, a grade 10 pupil at Luhlaza High School and a member of Equal Education, said education was a basic right and that poor areas were in desperate need of libraries, as learners in these areas did not have books at home.
"Today, the majority of children in South Africa are not able to read, write and count adequately, and this is mainly because of poor quality education and unequal access to resources in South African education," said Dwane.
"Unless, inequalities are addressed in this education system it will not transform our society and it will continue crippling and killing softly those who attend working class schools." - Sapa