Rastas feel irie as learner’s back

2016-02-11 06:00
Photo of the rastafarian student, his mother and supporters From left to right: Nonkosi Stofile, Neziwa Marhe, Judah Ngcangatha, Anathi Marhe and Woizaro Sontsonga Haramanuba.  rasta PHOTO: groundup

Photo of the rastafarian student, his mother and supporters From left to right: Nonkosi Stofile, Neziwa Marhe, Judah Ngcangatha, Anathi Marhe and Woizaro Sontsonga Haramanuba. rasta PHOTO: groundup

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Friday last week was a special day for 17-year-old Anathi Marhe, a grade 11 learner at Mfuleni High School.

For this was the day he was allowed back to school following his expulsion for wearing dreadlocks at school.

Marhe says when schools opened in January, he was told by his class teacher that boys are not allowed to wear dreadlocks and that he should cut them or leave school.

He refused, explaining that it was part of his religion as a Rastafarian to have long hair. But, he says, the teacher was not interested and responded instead with some choice words, embarrassing him in front of the class.

“The teacher shouted at me and said, ‘We don’t teach Rastafarians in the school’, and [that] I’m going to bring a bad influence,” says Marhe.

“The teacher said I should go to the principal, who told me to cut my dreadlocks if I want to study. I refused. He said that I should go home and he was going to call a meeting between my mother and the School Governing Body (SGB) to discuss this issue.”

After a few days waiting for his mother to be called by the principal, he decided to go back to school. Again, his teacher refused to teach the class while he was in attendance.

The teacher also confiscated packets of peanuts Marhe was selling and searched them thoroughly, claiming that he was selling dagga inside the school premises.

A meeting was eventually held on 2 February by the SGB. It said he should abide by the rules of the school and cut his dreadlocks if he was interested in continuing his studies.

His mother, Neziswa Marhe, said the family then approached the Department of Education in Cape Town.

“I had begged my child too many times to just cut the dreadlocks and go back to school. But my child said he will never let anyone discriminate against his religion.

I had no choice but to stand with him in this battle, even though I’m not a Rastafarian,” she said.

She said her son used to refuse to do house chores and on weekends he would not sleep at home, but after he became a Rastafarian he started to behave and obey the rules of the house. He no longer sleeps out.

The Rastafarian United Front picketed the school during the standoff to raise their disatisfaction against what they called discrimination on religious grounds.

On Friday morning, Marhe’s mother and a representative from the Rastafarian United Front met with the principal.

After nearly two hours of discussion, it was agreed Anathi could return if he wore a bandana wrapped around his head.

Provincial Department of Education spokesperson Jessica Shelver said school governing boards may decide on dress codes, including hairstyles, as part of their code of conduct. But, said Shelver, the Department of Basic Education had published guidelines on drafting codes of conduct and this included the need to respect religious and cultural practice.

“Our district officials discussed this with the school principal immediately upon hearing of the matter, and he agreed to discuss the matter with the parent and SGB,” she said.

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.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

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.