“South Africa is a wounded society, and it does not matter of you are black or white.”
These are the word of Ethiopian Episcopal Church Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana during a discussion yesterday in Pretoria by South African church leaders on the incident at the Pretoria High School for Girls (PHSG) this past week.
They came together to offer a helping hand to the department of basic education, parents and learners in a bid to find creative solutions to problems as highlighted this week at the school (PHSG).
Addressing the Pretoria Press Club, the churches are of the opinion that this incident at the PSGH is not only contained to this school, but to many other similar schools in the country.
Anglican Bishop Allan Kannemeyer said they appealed to government to provide more than is presently the case to undo the damage “we have all suffered under apartheid”.
“The girls are very traumatised because of what happened. Apartheid was a carefully engineered social construct. It needs to be dismantled with equal care if not we shall continue to have incidents of racism wherever the diverse people of our land congregate,” Kannemeyer said.
Roman Catholic Bishops William Slattery said: “We know that the school (PHSG) is an old school with great traditions, and it does a lot of work in our society.
“But the one rule about our society is that it is in transition, and it is changing and so into a school and all similar schools in the country.
“They need to become much more sensitive to the fact that they have pupils from all over. We know the school is working for unity, but at the same time a person’s language is absolutely unique to that person.”
Slattery said white people have over the years withdrawn from all their 16 Catholic Schools in the City of Tshwane since it opened its doors to pupils of colour years ago before the first democratic election.
Methodist Bishop Themba Mntambo said they needed to instil in their people that if something is broken. “I have the responsibility to correct it.”
Slattery said people should listen to each other, tell each other stories and learn to trust each other. He said white people did not trust.
“White people have a problem.”
Dr. Nontand Hadebe from the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians said they were calling on all women to stand up against a structural system that has dehumanised them.