Min­istry probes racism at Dur­ban school

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

DUR­BAN — Black pupils at Queens­burgh Girls’ High in Dur­ban claim they, like their coun­ter­parts in Pre­to­ria, have been the vic­tims of racism.

The KwaZulu-Natal ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment on Thurs­day sent of­fi­cials to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that black pupils were treated dif­fer­ently to girls of other races, were not per­mit­ted to play in­dige­nous games, and told to cut hair they were told “looked messy”, spokesper­son Muzi Mahlambi said.

Ac­cord­ing to the school’s dress code, hair must be clean and kept neatly away from the face and eyes. Hair that touches the col­lar must be tied up. It may not be bleached or dyed.

“No ex­treme hair styles are al­lowed. Hair ex­ten­sions, wigs, bond­ing and hair pieces are not al­lowed. Nat­u­ral hair may be braided but may not be worn be­low the col­lar.”

In a let­ter to the school’s man­age­ment, the girls said they wanted to break the bound­aries be­tween how dif­fer­ent races were treated.

“We would also like to be equal and for our ob­jec­tions and griev­ances to be brought to light and heard.”

The school’s man­age­ment al­legedly turned down the girls’ re­quest for a meet­ing.

The prin­ci­pal was not im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment to News24 and was be­lieved to be in a meet­ing.

News24 was in­vited to join a What­sApp group on Wed­nes­day night called #UpLiftBlack­Con­scious­ness, in which about 36 Grade 9 and 11 girls re­vealed how they had al­legedly been ill-treated at the school.

One pupil said her English teacher vic­timised her for hav­ing dread­locks, de­spite the code of con­duct mak­ing no men­tion of dread­locks.

“It got to a point where I un­did my hair and came with my afro the next day; the teacher laughed in my face and told me to tie it up or flat­ten it.”

An­other girl said black pupils were not al­lowed to speak their home lan­guage dur­ing school hours, were not al­lowed to play in­dige­nous games and that black fam­i­lies were seen as fi­nan­cially un­sta­ble.

An­other pupil said: “We have a Europe trip go­ing on at school for par­tic­u­lar stu­dents, but the teacher told us straight up that black peo­ple will not be con­sid­ered be­cause black peo­ple just want to take and take and never want to give.” — Sapa

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