In yet another case of racism showing its ugly face, pupils at Pretoria Girls High in South Africa are protesting against alleged racist rules, which inhibit them from having hairstyles such as afros, bantu knots, dreadlocks and braids.
Education authorities are probing the issue, and social media has been unrelenting, criticising the school for its rules. Panyaza Lesufi, the Education MEC for Gauteng confirmed a team is scheduled to visit the school today (Monday), and tweeted: “Leave that with me and my team. It will be done. We won’t disappoint”.
Let's call it a day! I have an early morning engagement. Thanks for the support #stopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) August 28, 2016
The pupils have told unsettling stories of their experiences at the school, which speak to racial discrimination within its academic space because of their blackness. According to the learners, there are rules and practices (detention) which discourage them from having their hairstyles, expressing their African languages and identities.
Social media has been awash with posts criticising the rules, with users standing up in solidarity with the pupils. Some social media users, who allege to be alumni of the school have also been sharing their natural hair experiences at the school.
South Africa has been battling with issues around racism, transformation and inclusivity at its educational institutions, particularly in institutions of higher learning. The Pretoria Girls High case highlights that some South African schools still have a problem with African hair, and discriminatory policies and practices still exist. There is need to continue fighting these discriminatory rules and practices.
Social media reactions.
One of the first places racism has to removed is in schools. Children shouldn't have to be fighting this. #stopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) August 28, 2016
Until we get rid of racism, sexism and discrimination in education institutions our society won't be free! #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Ulrich Janse van Vuuren (@UlrichJvV) August 29, 2016
Two months ago I met 3 learners from PTA girls high. We talked about this. They told me about this very issue #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Pontsho Pilane (@pontsho_pilane) August 29, 2016
Really proud of the girls behind #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh for doing what so many Model C/private school black kids were too scared to
— Third Force (@naledimashishi) August 28, 2016
When I was in Girls High I was always stopped in the corridor and instructed to FLATTEN MY AFRO #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Mmabalane (@_AtliiMotuku) August 28, 2016
#StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh Imagine they came with K9's and Ak47's for black school kids cause they choose to embrace their afro's
— The Resolute. (@Tiisetso_Phetla) August 28, 2016
This year has so far been a coming of age in terms of fighting institutional racism. I am here for this! #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh ✊????
— vin the maestro (@vnmstr) August 29, 2016
How do you tell a black person to not be black? In their own African country! Be white because its better #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh
— Miss_Morudu (@HealthBeautySt1) August 29, 2016