Release of findings on racism at Pretoria Girls High postponed

Pretoria – A briefing by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on the outcome of an investigation into alleged racial discrimination at Pretoria High School for Girls has been postponed.

The provincial department of education said on Wednesday morning that a new date would be communicated soon.

In August, black pupils protested against the school's code of conduct which imposed restrictions on how they could wear their hair.

The girls said school rules prohibited African hairstyles such as afros, Bantu knots, dreadlocks, and braids.

According to the school’s 36-page Code of Conduct, pupils could wear braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks, but only if they were a maximum of 10mm in diameter.

All hair had to be brushed, neatly tied back if long enough, and kept out of the face. No patterned cornrows were allowed. Longer braids had to be tied back. No decorations or beads were allowed in the hair.

"No dyeing, bleaching, highlighting, colouring, colour washing, colour rinsing, or shaving of hair in any way is allowed.

"Singles/braids must be the same length and be the natural colour of the girl’s hair. Longer braids must be tied back," the code read.

Nowhere did the code specifically forbid an afro hairstyle.

In addition, the girls claimed they were not allowed to speak in their mother tongue and that a teacher called them monkeys when they were singing and chanting in class.

Lesufi said at the time that the school governing body would thrash out a new code of conduct, in consultation with pupils, and that there would be "a cessation of hostilities".

He said it was important for the issues to be discussed.

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