Being a matric pupil at Brackenfell High ’is not easy’
“While we may be writing our final matric exam but at the same time what's happening at Brackenfell cannot be postponed any further,” said Brackenfell High School matric pupil Sandra Mdluli.
Mdluli, 18, is among the 254 matric pupils at Brackenfell High School who were affected by the violent protest that occurred outside their school grounds on Monday. The protests saw EFF members beaten by parents and residents. The EFF was there to protest, they say, against racism, after a whites only party took place, reportedly involving two teachers and 42 pupils.
The governing body and staff of Brackenfell High School distanced themselves from any allegations that Brackenfell High School would condone or accommodate any events that were exclusively reserved for certain groups, and especially racial groups.
“There will be no "right time" to break the cycle of racism at Brackenfell. So it's tough but I'm quite good at managing my time,” said Sandra.
Already, the Class of 2020 has faced difficulties that include loss of academic teaching time due to the Coronavirus pandemic national lockdown that lasted for more than four months.
This lockdown resulted in the banning of public gatherings, which included matric balls.
“It is honestly not easy. I am religious so I have to say prayer. Because I wouldn't be able to cope if it wasn't for God, honestly,” she said.
Recalling the first day of the protest Sandra said she was expecting it because she had seen posts on social media.
“I wasn't shocked. I did however feel a sense of pride. Because our voices were finally being heard. I am in no way political so whether I was the EFF or the ANC it doesn't matter to me. What matters is that we have been reporting racism and it has been falling on deaf ears. I appreciated the fact that we are finally being heard and someone is fighting for us. Something the school has never done,” she said.
However; she said when the protest turned violent: “I was shocked by the assault that the protesters faced at the hands of the community. And disappointed in both the school and the community of Brackenfell, because now that we are speaking out they are calling us liars.”
Looking back to when she first applied to attend Brackenfell High, Sandra said she was excited, despite her mother’s apprehension.
“I do, however, regret that choice now because my high school experience was not the best due to racism. And how you are not really valued at the school unless you're white, really good at sport or academically inclined,” she said.
She added though the school had taught her many tough life lessons.
“ I can now go into the world knowing how to deal with certain situations. I'm very excited to see what the future holds.”