Pretoria Girls High School is facing a furious backlash after instructing black school pupils to straighten their hair. Black school girls claim that they have been subjected to racism and that their blackness has been discouraged. They added that school rules forbid African hairstyles such as afro, Bantu knots, dreadlocks and braids.
#StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh is currently trending in South Africa. Videos and photos of pupils protesting at the school, one of them sporting an afro, went viral over the weekend
A petition STOP RACISM AT PRETORIA GIRLS HIGH which has over 9,889 signatures so far, has been set up asking the authorities to investigate the school. Part of the petition read:
“Learners at Pretoria High school are demanding that racist practices at the school are brought to an end. Girls attending the school have been forced to straighten their hair; are accused of conspiring when standing in groups and face other intolerable comments and actions”
The Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi arrived at Pretoria High School for Girls on Monday to investigate racism allegations by its black learners. He is currently in a meeting with parents, management as well as the school principal Karen Du Toit.
Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga told DRUM that it is too soon to determine what action will be taken against whom at the school if the girls’ concerns are valid.
“I can’t have a blanket solution for every time there is an outburst of racism at a school because each case is unique,” he says. “We want to know what is going on here before we can make a comment”
The girls also claim they are not allowed to speak their mother tongue and that a teacher called them monkeys when they were singing and chanting in class.
Meanwhile, the situation at the school has escalted with political youth movement gathering outside the main gate. Members of SASCO,COSAS, the African National Congress Youth League and Economic Freedom Fighters tried to force their way into the school premises after the school’s management barred parents from coming in to fetch their children.