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Outrage as S. African school separates students by race

Teacher who separated schoolchildren in classroom suspended pending investigations, provincial education minister says

10.01.2019
Outrage as S. African school separates students by race

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG

Scores of South Africans protested on Thursday to condemn a school in the North West province which allegedly separated students by race in a classroom.

A photo which emerged online late Wednesday showed black students of kindergarten sitting separately in a corner of a classroom away from their white classmates.

The image has sparked uproar in a country which emerged from decades of racial segregation 25 years ago.

“We want to condemn the white supremacy that still exists in South Africa,” Matakanye Matakanye, secretary general of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, told Anadolu Agency via phone.

He said his organization strongly condemns the incident and calls for the integration of all learners in schools.

“There are many good white people and schools in South Africa, but a few continue to perpetrate racism,” he said, adding that perpetrators should be identified and isolated.

Meanwhile, Sello Lehare, provincial education minister, told protesters at the school that the education department condemns what happened in the classroom.

He said the teacher, who separated the students, has been suspended with immediate effect until investigations are concluded.

However, chairman of the school governing committee at the school told media the image portrayed on social media is not what happens at the school.

“This is an excellent school that has come a long way with integration and for many years there hasn’t been a racial incident at this school,” he told local broadcaster Enca, but fell short of explaining why the students had exactly been separated.

Last year, the South African Human Rights Commission said in a report that patterns of racism and systemic racial inequality remained entrenched in South Africa despite the end of apartheid two decades ago.

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