Johannesburg, 9 November 2015 

Tackling the biggest problem South African education is facing to date – #textbooks matter aims to improve Basic Education for All (BEFA).

Two weeks from today, a titanic battle for the future of South African children will finally come to its conclusion at the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal. On 24 November, SECTION 27 will represent Basic Education for All (BEFA), a community based organisation whose members include learners, parents and educators in Limpopo, as it faces the Department of Basic Education over the provision of textbooks for children in Limpopo.

The case has huge implications for defining state duties to provide basic education. Practically, it could force the government to deliver millions more books to schools and on time. Government argues that this is tantamount to “an impossible standard of perfection”. Instead, government says that a court should ask whether the government has taken “all reasonable measures” to fulfill the right. The right to basic education is an “unqualified right” and is immediately realisable and SECTION27 has adopted this approach in interpreting the right to basic education.

Ahead of the court hearing, BEFA kicked off the #TextbooksMatter campaign shining the spotlight the poor state of textbook delivery and the impact on the learners in Limpopo.

#TextbooksMatter calls on South Africans to record a short message and share on social media why textbooks matter. Why do you believe every child has a right to his/her individual textbooks to take home, study from and have throughout the year? BEFA aims to create an Education Revolution on social media.

Some of the #TextbooksMatter highlights:

  • A daily video from thought leaders, authors, activists, artists on the importance of textbooks. These include author Margie Orford, Njabulo Ndebele, Justice Malala and Achmat Dangor. Watch out for daily updates on Basic Education for All or follow @BEFA_SA
  • A high-level Activist Dialogue at the school where it all started in 1976. We will host a discussion at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto on Friday, 20 November 2015 at 16:00.
  • There will also be an exhibition of photographs depicting in graphic detail the extent of textbook shortages on Limpopo learners and the impact on their lives.
  • A community, learner, teacher and parent-led protest march in Giyani on 21 November 2015.

Gabeba Baderoon, poet and author

“A textbook in a child’s hands is a confirmation that every child’s education matters. Let us keep the promise of education to each child. It is the route to equality and liberation for all of us.”

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, author and performance artist

Being able to read – and plan and dream and invent new realities – is the human potential that gives us more access to our creativity.”

Justice Malala, Journalist, TV host and political commentator

“Never again should any child suffer what people over the decades in South Africa have suffered, the inability to take their destiny into their own hands and use textbooks to progress their lives.”

For more information, please contact:

Tebogo Sephakgamela (BEFA) – 079 606 5646 or via email:

Ngqabutho Mpofu (SECTION27) – 061 807 6443 or via email:

Follow BEFA on Twitter: @BEFA_SA or on Facebook: Basic Education For All