The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) on Monday condemned the “racist” behaviour at Pretoria Girls High School, where black pupils have reportedly been told to straighten their hair and are prohibited from conversing with each other in their mother tongue.
“The ANCWL supports the young fearless black girls at Pretoria Girls High school for standing firm in dealing with the racism they are experiencing at their school,” the organisation said in a statement, adding that it was going to refer the matter to the Human Right Commission.
“South Africans should not tolerate any form of racism and must work together to deal with structural racism in our previously white schools. It is the firm belief of the ANCWL that South Africa should start moving towards criminalising all forms racist behaviours. Any form of reversing the gains of our democracy must be unashamedly exposed and unapologetically confronted by all of us.”
Being called monkeys and teachers saying their hair looked like a bird’s nest were among the complaints laid by pupils to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, who visited the school on Monday morning.
Pupils claimed they had been subjected to racism for a number of years and said “the institution’s rules forbids African hairstyles such as afros, bantu knots, dreadlocks and braids”.
The ANCWL condemned the school for prohibiting certain hairstyles and expecting black pupils to straighten their hair.
ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said: “Whilst the ANCWL appreciates that the Gauteng MEC of Education, Panyaza Lesufi acted swiftly in addressing the matter by visiting the school for a fact-finding mission with a hope to restore the dignity of a black child, the ANCWL will join other progressive structures to highlight the matter to Human Rights Commission for the Commission to investigate and ensure no stone is left unturned.”
- African News Agency (ANA)