Outraged South Africans have taken to social media to voice their opinion following a video showing a teacher combing a learner’s hair at a school in Gauteng.
The video has divided opinion among social media users, as some say the teacher is disciplining the learner, while others accuse her of humiliation.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has called the teacher’s actions “completely unacceptable”.
Responding to those who argued the teacher was “disciplining” the learners, Lesufi said what happened in the video was humiliation.
“Let’s respectfully agree to disagree. Humiliation may lead to learners doing wrong things. I am for discipline but in a proper way,” the MEC said.
“We’ve many kids absconding from school or committing suicide on small things that happened at school and they become scared to come back to school. It might sound petty but the number of learners taking wrong decisions is massive. As I said I am for discipline not humiliation.”
My son does not comb his hair. It is always the black teachers at his school who keep trying to have the hair conversation with him.
— Mme a Masakona (@FloMasebe) March 22, 2021
The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also criticised the teacher’s actions. There was nothing wrong with black hair, he argued.
“Only a child hating society can find satisfaction in humiliation & violation of children! For 18 years of kids’ school lives you teach them that violence is a legitimate way to resolve problems of human behaviour- How then can you be shocked at high levels of GBV and homicide?
When teachers are abused & disrespected by these same kids, we don't hear much done. THAT'S A COMB!! not a pair of scissors.. Combing the hair is definitely not hate towards hair, its more for cleanliness.. So The kid would have rather missed class? Y'all need to chill.
— Below Average Input????????.. (@Yomelela_) March 22, 2021
“It’s the indignity of standing at school gates, violently combing kids’ hair! Why not write to their parents? Why not ask kids to do it themselves in a private space? In anyway, why the hell must they comb? Will it make them more teachable? Why humiliate them because of hair??
“This is child abuse, black self hate and definitively illegal. This woman must be found and put to the book. You can’t teach kids to hate their hair… NO! Her treatment of black hair is the same as that of white racists who tell black kids to remove or hide their Afros,” he said.
The Gauteng department of education is yet to make an official statement on the matter. This article will be updated once comment is received.