Support for Pretoria High School for Girls protest

2016-08-29 22:34
Pretoria High School for Girls. (News24)

Pretoria High School for Girls. (News24)

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'We're tired of being oppressed for our hair' - PGHS student

2016-08-29 16:06

Students at a Pretoria high school have demonstrated over its dress code. WATCH

Pretoria - Various sectors of society and parents have thrown their weight behind the protest against the Pretoria High School for Girls over racism and hair.

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi held a marathon of meetings at the school with learners, parents, school management and stakeholders to address the problem and come up with a way forward on Monday.

"I am eternally proud of our girls but I am also sorry that in 2016 when we went through apartheid you are going through it," said Busisiwe Mbukwane, a parent.

"The solutions to this problem need to serve as a remedy to what they are experiencing and we need to walk away from this without any division. We can't change what's in white people's heart. The school needs to come to the party. They should have sent us an SMS saying 'we are addressing the situation' but that did not happen, I had to find out from my child. The school was cowardly in the manner in which they handled the situation," she added.

Parent Wisani Dzivhane, who was at the school on Saturday when learners held a silent march at the school fair, lambasted the school, saying it should create an environment that enables learning to take place without any hindrances.

"I came here to see what kind of people I was entrusting with the life of my child. What happened was not supposed to happen because our children are still in their formative years and they should not be exposed to an environment that is not conducive to nation-building," he said.

Calls for racial diversity

Learners said on Saturday the school called a security company and that there were guards walking around with guns and dogs.

At the centre of the protests is a section of the school's code of conduct relating to hairstyles, which black girls claim discriminates against them.

On Monday many of the girls expressed their dissatisfaction with the treatment they receive over their hair. Others also spoke about the treatment they received at the weekend, referring to the presence of armed guards within the school premises.

Among the groups that were at the school on Monday was the Congress of SA Students (Cosas). The organisation told Lesufi to look into the issue of racial diversity within the school's staff complement, pointing out that the majority of those in the employ of the school were white.

Cosas' Benedict Phalane said the composition of the teaching staff was alarming.

"Including with the staff and management, it's extremely white. It's not transformed and I don't know what exactly we are expecting as government. It's not only here, it's across all the former Model C schools that the environment is extremely depressing, not conducive for learning and growth. Look closer to it," he said.

Phalane said if the issues raised were not resolved within 14 days, they would return to the school and disrupt the exam process.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  education  |  racism

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