School racism scandal

2017-06-06 13:52
Girl's High School pupil's racist WhatsApp voice note goes viral.

Girl's High School pupil's racist WhatsApp voice note goes viral. (File)

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A prominent Pietermaritzburg high school has been rocked with allegations of racism after a pupil was recorded using the “K” word.

The WhatsApp voice note recorded by a Grade 11 pupil from Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School (GHS) went viral on social media on Monday.

The girl, whose identity is being withheld as she is a minor, was recorded calling black pupils at the school “K*****s” after they had allegedly misspelt her name in a social committee WhatsApp group on Sunday.

The pupil sent the recorded message to her friend who was in the company of other pupils, before the recording was eventually shared on social media.

Speaking to The Witness, one of the pupils said they immediately sent an e-mail to the school acting principal, the boarding establishment manager and the Department of Education.

The school governing body chairperson, Wynand Venter, said in a statement the school has a “zero tolerance to racism of any kind”.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the racist language used in the voice note circulating on social media.

“In liaison with the KZN Department of Education, we are attending to the matter with the urgency and importance that it deserves,” Venter said.

He said the school informed the provincial Department of Education and have subsequently addressed all the pupils at the school to make it clear that action is being taken. “The correct procedures and disciplinary actions are being followed. This matter is contrary to the beliefs and ethos of our school. We do not tolerate racism,” Venter said.

Kwazi Mthethwa, the spokesperson for the MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane, said the incident was “most hurtful” as it involved a pupil using racist remarks. “This girl is at a learning stage in her life but has already been taught how to be racist. She will need life orientation skills to teach her how to be tolerant of her fellow pupils,” Mthethwa said.

He added that the department would assist the school in resolving the issue.

“We are a nation of building so the aim is to teach this young girl and not destroy her,” Mthethwa added.

After the recording was shared on social media, the community called for the school to take action against the pupil, with former Girls High pupils joining the call for “justice to be served”.

Former pupil Estrada Naidoo said on a Facebook post that this was “the first time I’m ashamed of being a GHS old girl.”

“Reputation means the world to the school, but it’s a bit late now,” Naidoo wrote.

“The future of South Africa has [no] place for such racism. This is disgusting,” wrote Donna Fleur Raw on her Facebook page.

Another Facebook user, Mbali KaShongwe Gcabashe, called for the school to teach “proper lessons”.

“We have our names mispronounced on a daily basis, annoying as it might be, it has never given me reason to behave in this way. GHS is an institute of learning and they have to teach proper lessons. If this girl gets away with this she’ll carry this sense of entitlement and hatred as she grows up and contaminate a country that is already in trouble even further. This must be nipped in the bud.

We have more than enough hatred going on,” Gcabashe wrote.

Read more on:    racism  |  pietermaritzburg  |  racism at schools

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