June 5, 2013
Durban - When a white father was told of posters that portrayed black people as baboons and teachers referring to blacks as “k******” at the primary school his children attend, he turned to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Craig Thiem of Bloemfontein said his two children, who attend Wilgehof Primary School, had repeatedly complained to him about a white teacher with a racist attitude towards black pupils.
“One particular teacher and (head of department) displays a full-sized apartheid flag in the front of his classroom.
“He has a poster on the class wall that depicts blacks as having monkey-like primitive brains who can only make confusing noises. This particular teacher also often refers to blacks as ‘k******’ in class,” said Thiem.
“He would put the mirror in front of a black child’s face and ask them what they see. When the child replied, ‘I don’t know, sir’, the teacher responded by saying: ‘A baboon… you see a baboon!’” Thiem added.
A picture of former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema alongside that of a monkey was also reportedly put up on a classroom wall.
The SAHRC said on Monday that it would investigate allegations of racism at the school.
Spokesman Isaac Mangena told Sapa this week that the commission had conducted an on-site inspection at the school, after the parent’s complaint.
Read the original article here.
*****Comment: Schools should be places where all students are safe from any form of danger and certainly safe from being victims of racism.
How does any teacher get away with treating black students - or any student for that matter - with such racist disdain? Surely this teacher's immediate supervisor must have known something was not right.
At the very least the supervisor should have reprimanded him for flying the old South African flag - which is illegal by the way.
The answer to these questions probably lie closer to the institutional culture of the school. It is very likely that these kinds of offenses are tolerated.
It is significant that a white father is the one to raise these abuses as a matter to be investigated by the SAHRC. He has demonstrated the moral and ethical commitment to hold the school responsible for treating all students equally.
Children are innocent and should be protected to the fullest extent of the law and, therefore, the teacher and his supervisor(s) must be brought to book.
What is sad though is that few folks will be too surprised that this kind of racist abuse is still happening in the second decade since the official end of apartheid.
And we are not free.
*****UPDATE (June 6): A news report says that the alleged perpetrator has been suspended. The report also states that:
"The SA Human Rights Commission’s Buang Jones told Volksblad that interviews with pupils revealed that some children had been asked not to talk to the commission but rather to talk to the principal about their grievances.Seems to me that the accused teacher and his principal will be in the hot seat for some time to come. And rightly so - there is no place for this kind of racist buffoonery in any school in South Africa.
However, Wilgehof Primary School’s principal Fanie Roeloffze denied this and defended the teacher and said the SAHRC’s investigation at the school was still ongoing."
UPDATE (June 7): A Times Live report says that Principal Fanie Roeloffze and a second teacher have been suspended. The second teacher is alleged to have assaulted a student until he bled.
|Principal Fanie Roeloffze|
The teacher who was suspended for allegedly calling students "kaffirs" has been named. He is Lenard MacKay, a math and social science teacher.
Mackay called students "bobbejaan (baboon), gemors (rubbish), prostitutes, hooligans, assholes" according to the SAHRC.
Some students said he was kind to them.
The investigation is continuing and Mackay is seeking legal counsel.
I wonder why the usually verbose and moralizing Professor Jonathan Jansen of the University of the Free State is so quiet on this matter?
I guess it is not the preferred suspects he likes to use to launch into a white ass-kissing tirade about who is to blame for the downfall of South Africa.