'They call us monkeys' - George Campbell High School pupils

2017-08-18 16:20
Pupils at the George Campbell High School in Durban have renewed their calls for action to be taken against teachers they claim call them monkeys and the k-word. (YouTube screen grab)

Pupils at the George Campbell High School in Durban have renewed their calls for action to be taken against teachers they claim call them monkeys and the k-word. (YouTube screen grab)

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Durban - Pupils at the George Campbell High School in Durban on Friday renewed their calls for action to be taken against teachers they claim call them monkeys and the k-word.

They briefly disrupted traffic outside the school. This was the second time in two days that pupils voiced their displeasure.

On Thursday afternoon, pupils prevented parents and staff from entering or leaving the school grounds and demanded that their concerns be addressed urgently.

One of the protest leaders, representative council of learners chairperson, Lwazi Nhlumayo, 18, said it was the fifth protest pupils had staged.

"Hopefully this is our last protest. It has become a norm for them to call you a monkey and the k-word. If you report it they get a slap on a wrist. At worst they get a warning, but then the following week it is done again."

'Demon of racism'

Nhlumayo said the majority of pupils in the school are black.

"It is okay to speak Afrikaans in class, but when we speak our language we are told it is a stupid language. Our demands are that if there are teachers that are hitting learners and being racist, they must be removed."

Another pupil, Bongumusa Sibisi, 18, recounted how a teacher called a group of black pupils monkeys.

"We were talking amongst ourselves during drawing. He then asked all the pupils in the class to be quiet. He said you people need to be quiet. But then when a group of black boys were talking, he came to us specifically and said you monkeys must keep quiet.

"Another teacher came to us and said we must not make such an issue of it. She said it is in their culture to be racist."

Department of education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department did not associate with schools that "wish to promote racism".

"In recent times we have noticed that there seem to be individuals within our schooling system who continue to deliberately ignore our fight against this demon of racism. We are prepared to take action against any person to be found to have racially victimised our learners."

He called for pupils to stay calm and not take matters into their own hands. The department's district office was investigating.

Pupils showed journalists a video showing an alleged altercation between a white teacher and a black pupil. It happened sometime between 2015 and 2016.

In the video, a white man - apparently a teacher - confronts a black pupil and tells him: "You want to fight, come. I dare you."

The two get into a physical scuffle before bystanders pull them apart.

Mthethwa said he had seen the video. He could not confirm that it was filmed at the school.

"We will get more details and communicate on that. We condemn any racism."

Read more on:    durban  |  racism  |  education

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