‘Our teacher would tell us we were going to hell’

2016-09-04 00:02
Shashi Naidoo

Shashi Naidoo

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

Johannesburg - TV presenter and model Shashi Naidoo was only 10 years old when she first fell victim to racism.

“I was in primary school, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. That’s how bad it was,” she says.

“I was part of the first group that was accepted into a Model C school. There were only two of us and we were both Indians. They were testing the waters by only accepting two Indian girls.

“Some teachers were culturally biased. They would do religious studies and it would only be about Christianity. The teacher would mock us in full view of our schoolmates and say we were going to go to hell because we didn’t believe in Christ,” she says.

“One specific teacher would always say ugly things to me. I remember one day we had to do an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said I wanted to be a doctor. The teacher called my parents in and told them: ‘You need to stop giving your child unrealistic expectations. That’s not going to happen for her and she shouldn’t be thinking along those lines.’”

Racism, she says, had a huge effect on her life at school.

“I can relate to the pupils from Pretoria High School for Girls. I know how it is to be a victim of racism. They were bold enough to be the voice of many young girls out there.”

The ugly remarks affected her and school work, and she ended up hating school.

“It affected my school work very badly because I was constantly criticised in everything I did at school. I was told I wouldn’t be anything I wanted to be,” she recalls.

“In my second year of university, I couldn’t wait to go back to my school to tell the very same teacher that I was in fact studying to be a doctor. It didn’t even bother her. That day, I learnt to let it go and to be my own driver.”


What needs to be done to ensure children are not the victims of racism in school?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword SCHOOL. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    shashi naidoo  |  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.

Inside News24

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.