Afrikaans pupils quit Newcastle High

2008-05-13 00:00

THE new principal at Newcastle High, Manuel Govender, has vowed not to intervene after Afrikaans parents decided to pull their children out of the racially-charged school.

By yesterday, as many as 35 parents had requested transfers for their children to go to nearby Ferrum High — which, according to Govender, is still Afrikaans medium — and the number is likely to rise.

Tension started at the school after the Indian chairman of the school governing body discontinued Christian policies two years ago, against the wishes of the majority of parents.

Parents belonging to the Christian Parents’ Initiative applied to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have the decision revoked, but the application was rejected.

Tensions were aggravated by the appointment of Govender four months ago, the announcement of which was met with jeers and the singing of the Afrikaans song De la Rey.

Many parents wanted acting principal Muggie Liebenberg appointed, and he lodged a dispute with the Education Department as he was not short-listed for the post.

Now parents have accused the school of marginalising Afrikaans in favour of English, according to a report in a Sunday newspaper.

“I will not intervene and lower my dignity by asking why, because I was never consulted. I think as principal I deserve some level of dignity,” Govender told The Witness yesterday.

He said the parents of the Afrikaans pupils held a secret meeting last week and the fact that they are taking the children to an Afrikaans-medium school is proof that they want to maintain their Afrikaans identity.

“To me the move is a clear indication that this is racially motivated. Parents feel Newcastle is no longer a place for their children.”

Govender said that currently 80% of the pupils are English-speaking, but he denied that Afrikaans is being eradicated.

“When I came here, Afrikaans pupils were taught in Afrikaans and English-speaking children were taught in English. We have maintained that, so the rumours are unjustified. In my view, they are the ones responsible for taking Afrikaans out of the school because if there are no Afrikaans-speaking pupils in this school, there will be no need to teach in Afrikaans.”

Govender said the staff are still predominantly white, but he receives resignations on a regular basis.

Education Department superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi held a meeting at the school last Friday, but The Witness was unable to contact him for comment yesterday as he is at a conference in Cape Town.c

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.