Education dept defends anti-ANC T-shirt school

2013-11-06 23:10
One of the T-shirts created by high school students depicting unflattering images of ANC members. (The Witness)

One of the T-shirts created by high school students depicting unflattering images of ANC members. (The Witness)

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Durban - School children's artwork should not be used for political gain, the KwaZulu-Natal education department said on Wednesday after the ANC expressed shock at satirical T-shirts.

"Everyone has the right to express themselves in this matter. Let us remember these are school children," provincial education head Nkosinathi Sishi said.

On Tuesday, the provincial ANC expressed shock at T-shirts, made by Westville Boys High pupils, which mocked ruling party leaders.

ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said in a statement: "We view this as an attack on the ANC and on the country since the South African flag featured in the background...

"It is unacceptable for a school's management to allow individuals with their own agendas to ridicule and insult the leadership of the country in this manner," he said.

T-shirts bearing the faces of President Jacob Zuma, former president Nelson Mandela and ANC national executive committee member and former police commissioner Bheki Cele with derogatory captions, were displayed at the Westville Village Market Mall in Durban.

The T-shirts were removed as soon as a complaint was received.

They had been produced as part of the visual arts curriculum, part of which focused on social commentary.

The T-shirts labelled ANC leaders as "fakers since 1994".

But Sishi said he was concerned that the incident was being used to possibly settle political scores and that he did not want the incident politicised.

He praised the school saying it was one of the better schools in the department, which under principal Trevor Hall had achieved much.

"The school has achieved a lot. I think this is a school that needs to be supported," said Sishi.

The Witness newspaper reported that Hall reportedly told the newspaper that "the three artworks in question were created by free-thinking learners as part of their art portfolio for examination".

He said the work was not intended to offend, and he apologised for any offence caused.

On Wednesday, Mkhize said that while the ANC was offended, it would also not welcome similar T-shirts featuring opposition leaders.

Read more on:    durban  |  politics  |  education

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