#childsafety | Parents at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls protest against racism

By Liam Ngobeni Jun 25, 2020

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Pretoria – Parents of learners at the St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls staged a protest against what they say is years of racism and bullying perpetuated towards black learners. 

Protesting outside the school with placards with messages such as “I cannot pay for my child to be oppressed” the group of parents said they have had enough of the racism and their calls for a solution falling on deaf ears. 

Ayanda Zaxa said the protest was against racism and xenophobia.

“We have tried to reach out and the management of the school has not listened to any of our demands or have given any committal responses.”

“There is a myriad of issues such as black girls being body shamed, you know some African girls are a bit bigger but they get shamed by the teachers, sometimes sexualised, we have had incidents of pupils being called by the N-word or sluts and this has to stop.”

An Instagram page was also started where there are accounts of current and past girls recounting their experiences at the school. 

Zaxa said some of them go back 10, 20 years and “even after multiple attempts we still find ourselves in this same position.” 

Parent Boitumelo Kepile said it was disheartening that “we still have people riding on the train of white privilege at the expense of the black child.”

“We send them here to be safe and also learn but we find ourselves having to resort to these kinds of protests for our girls to have a secure learning environment. We got no joy from the school management.” 

“Enough is enough, their lives matter and we are in 2020. We want change.”  

Another parent said they were worried the same racist behaviour would carry on.

“We may find our daughters having to stand here 20 years later fighting the same issues.”

“We are paying a lot and sacrificing as parents yet our children come home to tell us horrid stories of what is going on in this school and many other former Model C and private schools.” 

She said they were being made to feel inferior.

“They must stand up for themselves but when they raise issues, valid ones, they are told they are raising stupid issues. I cannot pay for my child to be oppressed.” 

“Steve Biko must be turning in his grave, because it cannot be that in 2020 we are helping our daughters fight for self-determination. 

“Their hair is an issue, their colour is an issue, why?  

“It can’t be, this is like a cancer so rife in our private schools. They are working on our children’s confidence, it’s a psychological fight.”

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Pretoria News

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