Education department visits Pretoria Girls High following racism allegations

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

An emotional Chante Pietersen, who is in matric, shed tears as she spoke of the treatment towards pupils of colour at the school.

The Gauteng department of basic education has visited the Pretoria High School for Girls following fresh allegations of racism by pupils.

The department reported to the school on Friday following protests by some of the school’s matric pupils, who claimed their demands for racial equality fell on deaf ears.

The school had held a ‘Black Out Thursday’ where the matric learners were requested to dress in black clothes in support of the worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests.

But the school’s black learners consider all of this to be just a farce, as teachers and white learners were apparently still not held accountable for their continued racist remarks and treatment towards pupils of colour.

Holding up placards saying “No Justice, No Peace”, the pupils listed their demands through the palisade fencing as the media were barred from entering the school premises.

An emotional Chante Pietersen, who is in matric, shed tears as she spoke of the treatment towards pupils of colour at the school.

“They want to continuously silence us and continuously put us in the dark end of the school. We deserve justice at any cost. We want afros. We want the stop of cultural appropriation at our school. We want a council of students that will protect black rights,” Pietersen shouted in tears.

According to the pupils, the school encouraged the learners to practice breathing exercises to “reduce” their anger.

“Don’t tell us anger is something we can breathe out. We are still angry. Our parents had to fight for this and yet we still have to continue the fight. We are still here asking for equality. Why is it so hard to give us equality? Girls High, why don’t you want to hear black girls?”

The pupils demand transformation within the school staff and management, a complete eradication of the hair policy and for learners to be educated on marginalised communities. They also demand for racist teachers to be held accountable.

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