Human Rights Commission Confirms Racism in Free State Schools

By Oliver Ngwenya    05-Aug-2014 02:31 UTC+02:00

The South African Human Rights Commission has released its report after conducting investigations which were made by a teacher and some pupils about cases of racism in several Bloemfontein schools.

The report, which was released last week and focussed on one particular school, the Dr Viljoen Combined school, found that “the racist remarks made by the staff members of the Dr Viljoen Combined School against black and coloured learners constitute a clear incident of hate speech”. The report quoted a number of students who had revealed to the Commission’s investigators that some of the members of staff at the school had called them “kadfirs, baboons, monkeys, and little black bitches”. In addition, the pupils accused the members of staff at the school had also told the black and colored children to return to the black schools in the townships where they had originally come from. One teacher is apparently accused of saying that seeing the black students’ ugly faces made the teacher love his dog more as the dog was more good looking than the students.

Speaking in the wake of this report, Howard Ndaba, the spokesman for the provincial education department in the Free State said that his department would initiate its own internal investigation which he anticipated to last no longer than a month. He said this investigation would commence on Monday. The individuals that would be under investigation are a teacher at St Helena Primary School, the Principal of Christiaan De Wet Hoërskool as well as the Principal of Dr Viljoen Combined School.

This happens on the back of similar accusations leveled against another headmaster in the same province in 2013. A teacher and the principal at Wilgehof Primary School were suspended following a complaint made by a parent. In this case, the accusations transcended into the people of colour who were teaching in the school. Teachers of color had to fight for opportunities at the school. For example, only white teachers at the school were afforded bursaries to study with UNISA, they accused.

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