Lloyd Cele is working with the South African Toilet Organisation (SATO) to visit learners at schools and create awareness among parents and teachers of the importance of functioning and hygienic toilet facilities.
The 2010 Idols runner-up has decided it is time to stand up for children who are faced with sub-standard school toilets and, when he visited his former primary school in KwaZulu-Natal Khuphukani Primary School, he found it worse than 20 years ago.
"It brought back memories. I used to think I had a bad attitude about school but why would I want to be in an environment where things are so wrong? I now realise the lack of facilities was the reason I did not want to be there.
"The filthy and disgusting toilets are just one of the problems the learners have to deal with. The classrooms are terrible, from desks and chairs to walls. The school grounds are worse than when I was there. Grass is knee high and the boys cannot even kick a ball around.
Nothing has changed
"I still remember those Fridays when it was my class's turn to clean the toilets and how awful we felt about this. It was shocking to go back to the school after 20 years and see that nothing has changed and some things are actually worse. There is not a working tap where children can wash their hands.
"We need to get out there and create awareness among parents and teachers of the importance of properly functioning toilets."
There are more than 8,000 schools in South Africa in need of proper toilet facilities and over the next few months, Cele is going to raise awareness of the plight of schoolchildren who daily face sub-standard sanitation.
Official reports state that 5% of public schools in South Africa have no toilet facilities, while many others are sub-standard and non-functioning. Damaged ablution blocks (where toilets do not flush and are leaking or where plumbing is dysfunctional and damaged) also have the potential to affect surrounding areas, including ground water.
Cele will be helping to raise awareness by chatting to parents and teachers and visiting schools, taking part in World Toilet Day in November and attending the World Toilet Summit in Durban at the beginning of December.
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