East London - Selborne College's School Governing Body has issued an apology and said in a statement that it recognised the hurt a controversial image, used in an invitation to Selborne College matriculants for a reunion recently held at the Old Boys Club, had caused.

"We recognise the iconic nature of the image which reflects a turning point in the painful history of South Africa and its people."

The image, reportedly used in an invitation and poster, references the iconic June 16,  1976  picture shows a dying Hector Pieterson being carried by fellow pupil Mbuyisa Makhubu while Pieterson's sister Antoinette Sithole runs next to them. 

In the picture making the rounds  online  however, Makhubu and Sithole's faces are replaced with faces of dogs, while Pieterson's face appears to have been removed.

Read: Outrage over 'tasteless' Old Selbornian poster

In the statement, the artist also apologised and explained the inspiration behind the artwork.

"I wanted an artwork to represent (our) emotional feelings at the time of leaving the school, only for Selborne matrics of 2017. I viewed the iconic image as a powerful symbol of loss, that then brought forth better futures (historically speaking), and thought it was a good relatable image for our class and its success to come. There was never meant to be any racism or prejudice within the artwork and I apologise for any misunderstanding the artwork has caused.”

The artist said that the two people have been adapted into dogs as symbolism to the school. Selborne is often referred by its official symbol of a Greyhound or Whippet dog, as it is part of our school badge. 

"This was in no way meant to be derogatory/ disrespectful to any persons."

On Friday the Old Selbornian Association distanced itself from a controversial image.

The controversial image sparked outrage among users on Twitter and Facebook, who labelled it distasteful and insensitive.