Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
18 Jun 2020
2:17 pm

Alleged racism at Pretoria Girls High continues

Rorisang Kgosana

Four years after making headlines over their school's 'racist' hair policies, Pretoria Girls High pupils say nothing has changed, and they demand immediate action.

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

The fight against racism is back at the Pretoria High School for Girls with angry matriculants holding a protest on the school premises on Thursday, claiming their demands for racial equality were still not met.

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

“We demand accountability for those that practice racism – pupils and staff. It should be made public that you were found guilty of a racial offence and should be blacklisted so that should you look for employment elsewhere then it is known that you were previously found guilty for a racial offence,” said Zulaikha Patel.

This demand is nothing new, as the same girls had made headlines four years ago, demanding the scrapping of the hair policy which regulated how black girls should wear their hair.

“Four years later, we are still preaching the same gospel. The [Gauteng Education] department came and once the media left, we were forced into silence and fear and our demands disappeared into the air,” Patel said.


For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.