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Black parents allege systemic racism at Rondebosch Boys’ High School, SGB chair responds

Black parents have decrying the lack of black role models at Rondebosch Boys’ High School. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Black parents have decrying the lack of black role models at Rondebosch Boys’ High School. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Published Jul 7, 2022

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Cape Town - A group of black parents are pushing for transformation at the elite Rondebosch Boys’ High School, decrying the lack of black role models at the school.

The group of 12, under the umbrella of “Bosch Parents For Change”, is especially peeved at the alleged discrimination in sport and admissions “gate-keeping”.

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They said the team selection processes for rugby exclude black learners from first and A teams.

To protect the identity of the children, a parent anonymously said: “The school needs to set clear transformation targets for all sporting codes, in terms of visible changes, like seeing more black head coaches, coaches, greater inclusion of black learners in all teams and especially first and A teams.”

In a letter, the group said the school management had just one black teacher, and one black African educator in a position of subject head out of 18 posts.

“This is juxtaposed with the 20 ground staff members – all are black males reporting to a white estate manager. This non-representative picture robs the learners of the opportunity to see black adults in roles of authority and leadership,” they said.

Only 10% of black students made up the student body, was another concern raised.

“Too many black learners are excluded due to the school’s practice of accepting all of the preparatory school’s learners where a large majority are white.”

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The school’s headmaster was unavailable as he was out of the country.

School Governing Body (SGB) chair Steve Schlesinger said three impartial professionals with backgrounds in sports law, sport and organisational leadership was brought in to investigate and make recommendations.

“We are busy working through the recommendations of the report from these consultants,” he said.

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Schlesinger said he did not believe there was systemic racism or discrimination at the school.

"We have a transformation and diversity subcommittee on our SGB, and it is also a major portfolio on our learner representative council. So four of the parents who brought these allegations have been co-opted onto this SGB committee as we welcome diverse views.“

ANC Western Cape Legislature Caucus Education spokesperson Khalid Sayed said he was approached by the parents and posed related questions to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

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“The responses mirror very much the official responses that the school has sent to the parents, which I think paper over the cracks and do not speak to the systemic and even subtle racism that you find at this particular school,” he said.

“The department is not doing its job, it's not drilling down into the issues,” he said.

Kerry Mauchline, a spokesperson for Education MEC David Maynier, said the school had engaged with the parents.

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