ANC slams school's anti-ANC T-shirts

2013-11-06 09:17
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 - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has lashed out at a leading Durban school after pupils apparently produced a range of T-shirts depicting unflattering images of President Jacob Zuma and other leading party members.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the party was tipped off by a member of the public about the T-shirts, which were displayed at a mall by Westville Boys High.

“We were shocked when we saw these T-shirts bearing faces of President Jacob Zuma, president Nelson Mandela and ANC NEC member and former police commissioner Bheki Cele with derogatory captions,” said Mkhize.

'Attack on the ANC'

“We view this as an attack on the ANC and on the country since the South African flag featured in the background,” complained Mkhize.

The ANC contacted the management of the Westville Village Market mall on Tuesday afternoon after a member of the public alerted the ANC.

 “We call on the management of the school to investigate this incident and make sure that people who were behind the design of these T-shirts are sanctioned. The ANC has fought bitterly to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country where we can all live together in harmony.”

Westville Boys’ High School headmaster Trevor Hall said the school is committed to a non-racial democratic South Africa. “We give the greatest respect to the Constitution, and the rights enshrined therein resonate within the learning environment that we facilitate.”

He said he noted that the artwork of “some learners, in the form of printed T-shirts on display, has caused offence to a political party”.

“The three artworks in question were created by free-thinking learners as part of their art portfolios for examination.

“The Visual Art syllabus includes a section on social and political commentary. Learners wishing to explore this section have, for many years, made art expressive of a wide range of opinions. No particular political or social bias is encouraged. Pupils are free to make their own commentary on society, as is their right.”

Hall stressed the display of the T-shirts was not intended to offend in any way and “we apologise to the extent that any offence was caused”.

The items were part of a static display and were not for sale, nor were they being worn by anyone. They were removed as soon as a complaint was received, Hall said.

Political commentary

Professor Herman Wasserman of Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies said: “Children must be allowed the freedom to give criticism on what they see around them, and to give political commentary.

“Our country has a history of pupils taking a political stance, who did not waiver in their belief. We would expect from our teachers and pupils to create a context to help explain the complexities of our country.”

Mkhize labelled the art project an act bordering on racism.

“This is akin to insulting the leadership of the ANC and nullifying all the good work our movement, working with peace-loving South Africans, have done in making sure that racism is buried in this country,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  durban  |  politics

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