Johannesburg- President Jacob Zuma has told a group of Tembisa primary school pupils about the importance of education, and how he had to educate himself.
"I never went to school, but I educated myself. I'm proud of that," he told pupils at Marhulana Primary School, one of the oldest schools in the country.
"I took a decision to educate myself when I realised I didn't have a choice, because my father had just died."
Zuma, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school, in Kempton Park, as part of Mandela Month on Wednesday.
Zuma was inspecting the school to determine what was needed to improve learning and teaching.
He spoke about the importance of education and the role parents needed to play. He asked the parents in attendance how many of them were educated.
"In the past it was judged that you are educated based on how well you know Shakespeare's work," he said.
He recited a few lines from the playwright's work, to cheers and applause.
"I appeal for unity when it comes to supporting our children. If we are united, our children will not go astray. We will close the doors to crime," he said.
The country could only succeed if people worked together.
"Teachers doing their work, parents and community supporting teachers, learners listening to their parents and teachers, government providing resources, with private companies assisting from time to time. When we are united like this, we are able to pick up the problems quickly and deal with them," he said.
Parents and pupils cheered and ululated when Zuma arrived. There were chants of "Zuma, Zuma" throughout his speech.