Reitumetse Mahope
3 minute read
23 Jul 2020
9:23 am

Pretoria Girls High green-lights afros while it considers isiZulu as a subject

Reitumetse Mahope

The school will conduct a survey on the number of learners aspiring to enrol for isiZulu as a subject.

Learners from Pretoria Girls High protest against racism at their school on the school premises, 18 June 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Afros as “a form of natural hair” now will be allowed at Pretoria High School for Girls, “provided that it is neat, well-maintained”, the school’s principal said on Monday.

“Natural hair should not impede or restrict the view of any other learners from seeing the teacher, the board or any other educational aid or device,” said school principal Phillipa Erasmus.

Erasmus also said the teasing of hair was not acceptable.

She was responding to a memorandum of alleged racial practices at the school handed to the Tshwane south district director Hilda Kekana by the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) earlier this month.

ALSO READ: Alleged racism at Pretoria Girls High continues

Erasmus was present at the handing over of the memorandum.

She also addressed the issue of isiZulu being offered at the school mentioned in the memorandum by saying the school would conduct a survey on the number of learners aspiring to enrol for isiZulu as a subject.

“Due process will be followed,” said Erasmus.

The introduction of isiZulu and any other official language would be determined by the required numbers of learners to constitute a class, availability of learning and teaching support material, availability of personnel; etc.

Erasmus said a full review of its code of conduct involving all stakeholders was undertaken in 2016 and 2017, and again in 2018/2019.

Pupils at Pretoria Girls High School are still protesting the school’s supposedly racist policies, four years after first making headlines. Picture Jacques Nelles

She said all stakeholders were invited to provide input on potential changes.

“Our code of conduct will once again be under annual review in the last quarter of the year. All stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input.”

Erasmus said the school would establish an independent body to look into the alleged institutional racism at the school.

The school governing body, the school management team with the support of the Gauteng education department were “embarking on a journey to address institutional and systemic issues that undermine the school’s ability to build a vibrant and healthy community”.

She said a review of employment processes to reflect diversity was addressed “as and when vacancies open up”.

READ MORE: Education department visits Pretoria Girls High following racism allegations

She said, however, the key requirements of the vacant post had to be considered.

“Our school is not just a place of learning, but lifelong learning. As a school, we are poised at a pivotal place of change leading to transformation.

“We are motivated to enable change that would be authentic, equitable and participatory.”

ANC youth league branch chairperson Sello Mangwane said in the memorandum that teachers at the school “perpetuate racism a lot” and that “nothing gets done about it”.

“You (the school) perpetuate our inequality and that of the children as well as the poor and marginalised,” he said.

In 2016, learners also protested against hair policy at the school.

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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