Race scandal: It’s no big deal, say Curro parents

2015-06-21 17:15
Children of various races play at Curro private school in Roodeplaat, Pretoria. The school has been at the centre of another racial controversy. PHOTO: Muntu Vilakazi

Children of various races play at Curro private school in Roodeplaat, Pretoria. The school has been at the centre of another racial controversy. PHOTO: Muntu Vilakazi

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


WATCH: Alleged racial segregation at Curro school caught on camera

2015-06-18 08:50

Curro Roodeplaat Private School is under the spotlight again - this time after what appears to be racially segregated classes were caught on camera.WATCH

Two schoolbuses offload precious little cargo, fresh from a school trip early in June. A grainy video captures the scene. The children get off in neat racial groups. Whites from one bus. Blacks from the other. The racially fragile country exploded as the images emerged this week.

The Curro Foundation school in Roodeplaat near Pretoria now faces shareholder pressure from the government’s powerful pension fund, which is a major shareholder, and a second probe in just four months by the Human Rights Commission.

In February, Curro was at the centre of a school race scandal when black parents complained about racial segregation by class. The school’s explanation then and now is the same: the learners were separated for language not race.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is fuming – he has the power to suspend Curro’s licence. “The day we [only] allow Tshwanas to play with Tshwanas and Xhosas to play with Xhosas ... the day we tolerate that we should separate learners on the basis of their own language ... that will be a sad day for this country,” he said.

But nine parents who spoke to City Press say the incident’s been blown out of proportion and that improvements have been made. Black parents are concerned that almost the entire teaching faculty is white.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which has poured millions of rands into Curro, said it “condemns the practice of racial segregation in any form and shape as it goes against the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.

“The PIC is concerned because these allegations follow hot on the heels of a report by the Gauteng department of education, which concluded that Curro Roodeplaat was practising racism.”

SA Human Rights Commission spokesperson Isaac Mangena said it had opened a new investigation into the latest incident. “We cannot have one group of children being segregated from another in a democratic country,” he said.

The commission is also investigating Curro Kathu in Northern Cape where racism claims surfaced earlier this year with allegations that teachers and staff were addressing English-speaking parents in Afrikaans.

City Press spoke to nine parents on a visit to Curro Roodeplaat a day after Lesufi described the actions of the school as “disgusting”. Parents were interviewed across racial groups and the overall opinion was that the incident had been blown out of proportion.

When City Press arrived on Friday afternoon, children of all races were playing on swings and the jungle gym outside Curro Roodeplaat Primary School.

They laughed and squealed as they chased each other around the swings or brushed each other’s hair as they waited for their parents.

Doreen, a white grandmother, said her two grandchildren at the school were well integrated.

“I have heard a lot about this and I don’t understand how parents can be so childish. As they fight, the children will continue playing together. My grandchildren have all sorts of friends, at home they are taught to be good people and colour does not matter,” she said as she picked up her two grandsons.

One of her grandsons is four years old and the other is in an English Grade One class, which she said was chosen for him by his parents even though they speak Afrikaans at home.

Another white parent, who did not want to be named, said she was extremely upset because the children risked being marginalised.

“My daughter can’t even wear her school uniform at the shops because people are giving her dirty looks. People think her school is racist and wearing the uniform is some kind of sign.”

Her daughter has been in the school for nine years, and she has never considered moving her.

“I wish the parents who are spreading this and those who believe it, could come to the school and see for themselves. These children play sport together, go on camps together, this is not a racist school.”

Reshoketswe Nakeni, a mother of a Grade 2 pupil, said: “There was no racism, not this time and not in this video. Things have changed for the better here. I’m involved in this school and the management and teachers are really trying hard to do better and change the way they did things, but to suspect racism is wrong because I have not seen it since the first incident, which was blatantly racist in my view.”

Nakeni said she chose the school because it had good policies and she was not contemplating taking her child to another school.

Another black parent, who asked not to be named, agreed saying although the latest incident was not racist, the school had not learnt from its past mistakes.

“Our children go to that school and black people are gardeners, cleaners and security guards. With no black teachers, our children think they are inferior and we can’t have that. Although Curro has promised to hire black teachers, its explanation that black teachers do not meet the requirements is false because there are many black teachers who have applied, but get turned away,” said a father of two pupils at the school who has applied to another school for his children next year.

He said he was leaving Curro Roodeplaat due to the bad publicity around the school and was concerned this could affect his children’s education.

“The first incident was racist, but there was no racism on this trip. My child went there and we saw many pictures of black and white children playing and interacting together,” said the father.

A black mother of a Grade 3 child said another racial incident was the last thing she had expected, but agreed that the video painted a wrong picture.

Curro Roodeplaat and its holding company, Curro Holdings, said they would not make any further comments apart from the statement issued earlier this week denying allegations of racism. 
Read more on:    racism

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.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

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


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.


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.