The father of a Grade 10 pupil at Sunward Park High School in Boksburg was distraught after his daughter was allegedly called a “demon” by the school principal for wearing her sangoma bracelets to school.
The 15-year-old underwent initiation to become a medium/traditional healer last year and has since returned to commence her education.
According to the father, whose identity must be concealed to protect the identity of the child, she was told to remove the bracelets, which the sangoma tradition does not permit, upon arriving at back at school this year.
“As from last week Wednesday she was attacked by several teachers telling her that she cannot wear the bracelets and beadings at school and if it is for sangoma thing she will need to submit the written letter from her gobela,” the distraught father said.
A gobela is a teacher at a sangoma initiation school.
Yesterday, the scholar apparently submitted the requested letter to the school principal, Anine Peens, who did not respond to requests for an interview after the allegations were put to her.
According to the father, Peens and two other teachers verbally attacked the scholar, insulting her about her being a sangoma and telling her to find another school with “demons like her”.
She was also allegedly told she could only continue at the school if she signed a contract saying she would consult as a sangoma to teachers and pupils at the school.
The pupil was allegedly told that all the teachers were afraid of her as she was “possessed with demons” and she might “infect” other pupils in her school.
While the father has since reported the incident to the district office governing the school, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s office had yet to answer questions relayed to the department at the time of going to print.
The father said the incident traumatised his daughter who reluctantly attended school yesterday.
“My child broke down and cried and she was assisted by two administrative staff. She then called her mother to come fetch her and she is scared to go back to that school,” he said.