Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has come under fire for defending school hair policy that some believe are racist.
This after schools including Pretoria Girls’ High and Lawson Brown High protested against what they called racist policies. They were told that their hair was untidy and they should cut it. Motshekga, who came in for a tongue lashing on Twitter for her comments, said yesterday that she saw nothing wrong with the “innocent” rules.
“If you look at those rules you can see that those are standard rules that you find in most codes of conduct. I looked at them. I mean it’s not denying them a right to cornrows, but it says they must not be fancy. If you look at those rules they look innocent; it’s perhaps in the implementation where difficulties came. That’s why I am saying am glad those girls raised it. That I am mixed breed – my Afro hair is not a wig,” says Motshekga.
Her comment about a person somehow being capable of being “mixed breed” also raised eyebrows. However, Motshekga’s spokesperson subsequently explained on radio that the minister had meant to say “mixed race”. She had also intended to make the point that the matter of hair in schools was something that should not be difficult to resolve and had been trying to be constructive when she said the issue was not “too controversial”.
Motshekga had also said: “They should have raised it through their parents and parents raise it through parents’ bodies, and for me it just shows the weakness of our own internal structures. It’s a matter that I don’t think is too controversial. If kids are going to bring fancy dreadlocks to the school then it’s a problem. A school is a school, but also, we don’t want to infringe on their rights to say the Afro is not acceptable.”
People took to Twitter to air their disapproval, with some calling her views “nonsense”.
Here’s what some had to say on Twitter:
— I am an African (@Clint_ZA) August 31, 2016
Angie Motshekga is in the same league of incompetent as Bathabile, Nkoana-Mashabane & the likes
— Lance Letuka Mosiea (@HeirOfZion) August 31, 2016
What nonsense has Angie Motshekga said now?
— Thabiso Makhubela (@thabzy_m) August 31, 2016
I hope you can help Angie Motshekga get some sense. Unacceptable that she would hold such a view @Lesufi. We will protest
— Hoesanna (@NomthandazoSan2) August 31, 2016