St John's, Michaelhouse derby day cancelled after alleged racial slur during hockey match

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Michaelhouse (Picture from Michaelhouse website)
Michaelhouse (Picture from Michaelhouse website)
  • The annual derby day between Michaelhouse and St John's College was cancelled because of a racial slur.
  • A Michaelhouse first-team hockey player was alleged to have used a racial slur against a St John's College opponent.
  • A statement confirmed the incident took place and the Michaelhouse player has been suspended. 

The annual sporting derby day between two of South Africa's prestigious private schools, Michaelhouse and St John's College, has been cancelled after an alleged racial incident during a fixture.

The incident, according to a joint statement released by the schools, took place during the first team hockey match between the schools on Friday evening where a Michaelhouse first-team player allegedly used a racial slur to insult a John's College opponent.

St John's College is based in Houghton Estate in Johannesburg while Michaelhouse, one of the most expensive schools in the country and the hosts for the weekend, is in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

The statement confirmed the cancellation of the derby day because of the alleged racial slur and that the schools agreed it wasn't appropriate for the derby day to continue, while the student in question has been suspended.

"There has been an allegation that, towards the end of the First XI Hockey match between St John's College and Michaelhouse last evening (on Friday), a racist slur was made by a Michaelhouse player to a St John’s player," the statement said

"Both Michaelhouse and St John’s are united in condemning all forms of racism and discriminatory behaviour and Michaelhouse, in following its procedures, immediately implemented a precautionary suspension in respect of the boy alleged to have made the racial slur, pending a formal disciplinary hearing.

"In these circumstances, the Heads of both schools have agreed that it is not appropriate for the other hockey and rugby matches planned for today, Saturday 28 June (28 May), to take place and we have cancelled our fixtures."

Michaelhouse rector Antony Clark referred Sport24 to the statement with regards to the confirmation of the incident, but did not want to comment further.

St John's College council chairperson Thulani Khanyile told Sport24 that he was appraised of the incident, adding that they'll await the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

"It is a matter that's being investigated by Michaelhouse, who are working closely with St John's to get to the bottom of it," Khanyile said.

"Our view with regards to racial discrimination is that we have zero tolerance for that and any manner of prejudice in society.

"Let's allow the investigation to unfold while the kids are receiving the necessary support."

The statement is below:

Joint statement by St John’s College and Michaelhouse

Dear Parents

There has been an allegation that, towards the end of the First XI Hockey match between St John’s College and Michaelhouse last evening, a racist slur was made by a Michaelhouse player to a St John’s player.

Both Michaelhouse and St John’s are united in condemning all forms of racism and discriminatory behaviour and Michaelhouse, in following its procedures, immediately implemented a precautionary suspension in respect of the boy alleged to have made the racial slur, pending a formal disciplinary hearing.

In these circumstances, the Heads of both schools have agreed that it is not appropriate for the other hockey and rugby matches planned for today, Saturday 28 June, to take place and we have cancelled our fixtures.

The schools have been and remain committed to working together to ensure their students affirm and respect the dignity of all people.

Antony Clark (Rector Michaelhouse) and Stuart West (Executive Headmaster St John’s College)

In addition, the St John's College staff have debriefed with the boys last night and this morning and will continue to do so in the days ahead. Staff will ensure that all boys on tour are placed with their parents or safely returned to Johannesburg by designated buses this morning.



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