Dreadlocked pupil (13) thrown out of school

2014-02-20 18:02

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A Gauteng school has kicked out a Grade 8 pupil because he will not cut his dreadlocks.

Dikeledi Ndlungwane, the grandmother of Afrika Nazo (13), said the principal of the Alpha and Omega Christian Academy, Wesley Ebrahim, called her today and asked her to fetch the boy from school because of his dreadlocks.

The rules of the independent school in Mondeor, south of Joburg, forbid dreadlocks.

Ndlungwane said: “They said we should fetch him and bring him back when he has cut his hair.”

Nazo’s father, Wandile Mnqanqeni, said he was prepared to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

“It’s bad. They can’t do this to the kid. I will fight until the end. I will take it to court and I won’t stop,” he said.

Ebrahim refused to comment.

Mnqanqeni said Nazo could only cut his hair after returning from initiation school. This is according to his family’s tradition and culture.

He said: “We have been doing this since time immemorial. In fact, many abaThembu families used to do it, but they have since dropped it. My family has continued with the tradition.”

He said he had spoken to Ebrahim about the issue.

“I spoke to the principal and explained to him. There was a great deal of understanding. He said I should send him a letter which he would send to the board. “He assured me that things would be fine. He came across as somebody very reasonable. I’m now very surprised by his actions.”

» In 2007, the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled in favour of Sunali Pillay, a pupil at Durban Girls’ High School who wanted to wear a nose stud to school.

Her mother, Navaneethum Pillay, dragged the school to the Equality Court, but she lost. She proceeded to the high court, which overturned the equality court’s decision and ruled in favour of Pillay.

» In March last year, the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling by a high court to dismiss the department of correctional services’ decision to fire five employees for wearing dreadlocks at work.

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