Russell pupils protest abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls

2014-05-07 00:00

MORE than 200 Russell High School girls yesterday took part in a protest to show they were joining the fight to get the Nigerian government to do more to find 276 abducted schoolgirls.

The girls were abducted from a school by Islamist militant group Boko Haram on April 15.

Campaign organiser Thenjiwe Mswane, who was head girl at Russell High some years ago, organised schools around the country to participate in a campaign to spread the message for the world to help in bringing back the girls.

Mswane is now in the UK, but is also organising a protest outside the Nigerian embassy in Pretoria.

Russell High pupil Nosipho Khumalo (18) said, “I feel it’s unfair for innocent girls to be abducted for unjustified reasons such as not wanting girls to be educated.”

She said they should not just sit back and watch and “that is why we want our voices to be heard”.

Another pupil, Ashley Voges (16), said, “The reason the world is in so much conflict is because some people think they can do what they like.”

Ashley said those were innocent girls. “To just take them is outrageous,” she said.

Her schoolmate, Zimele Khumalo (13), said, “I think the situation the girls are in is cruel and unfair and everyone should have a right to an education and a bright future.”

Mswane said it was reported that 42 of these girls managed to escape and as it stands 234 girls remain missing. “Headlines that followed (weeks later) suggested that the girls were being sold for $12, approximately R120 each,” said Mswane.

She said they started challenging the hate crime this week.

“Women in South Africa have decided to stand in solidarity with the mothers, sisters, brothers of these Nigerian girls and join the world in saying bring back our girls,” said Mswane.

“Because united we stand, divided we fall. Every woman’s struggle is our struggle; too often we detach ourselves from the struggle of other women because they are of a different ethnic group, racial group, or nationality.”

Mswane said they wanted international outrage — as had been expressed in the case of the missing Malaysian plane — because 234 abducted girls were the equivalent of a missing plane.

She said they would continue the protests in other provinces and mobilise the international community to fight for the girls to be freed.

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