Allegations that a teacher told pupils that black people are “demons” at the National School of Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, are being investigated by the Gauteng Education Department.
The National School of Arts, a top 25 private school in the country, issued a statement declaring their concern with regards to the incident. “We are taking this allegation extremely seriously and have commenced an internal investigation. Should the allegation prove true, appropriate steps will be taken. We will not tolerate even a hint of racism in our school,” said the chair of the school’s governing body, Brenda Sakellarides, in a press release, titled, “The National School of Arts responds to allegations of teacher racism.” The statement was released earlier today.
The incident occurred last Thursday when a grade eight History teacher at the school allegedly told her class that the government in South Africa was failing because it is run by black people.
According to a report by The Star, a thirteen year-old girl, attending the class at the time of the incident, sent an SMS to her mother saying that the teacher was out of hand. She also gave accounts of the comments allegedly made by the teacher, whereby she apparently stated that black people were stupid for voting for the African National Congress (ANC) and that residents of the Western Cape were, “more than happy,” with the Democratic Alliance (DA) thanks to, “white people,” according to an article in the newspaper.
The mother issued a complaint shortly after. More concerned parents are expected to issue complaints in the near future.
Spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, Phumla Sekhonyane, told SAPA today that, “We have initiated an independent investigation”. No further indications were provided by the spokesperson.
According to the press release from the National School of Arts, the teacher in question holds a Masters Degree in Apartheid History. The school explained that the comments in question may very well have been misconstrued representations of the discussion, which was on the origins of racism, by the learner. The school also states that the mother in question released her statements directly to the media with no prior discussions or engagements with the school.
Alumni of the National School of Arts, five of which were recipients of Mail & Guardian Top Young South African Achiever’s Awards, rallied today in support of the school.
The school vows to get to the bottom of the allegations.