Frame grab of SMS msg from student to his mother. To go with story by Lebo on racist slurs at National School of the Arts, Braamfontein Picture: Handout/Supplied 020614

Johannesburg - The National School of the Arts history teacher accused of making racist remarks and calling black people demons has been placed on cautionary suspension.

This article has been updated

Gauteng Department of Education spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said the teacher wouldn’t be allowed to set foot in the school pending the department’s investigation, which is under way.

The teacher, a Miss Nel, allegedly told a Grade 8 class at the Joburg school that the government was failing because it was led by black people.

The school said it was taking the allegations seriously, and if they proved to be true, “appropriate steps will be taken”.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has joined in the condemnation of the incident.

The foundation’s director, Neeshan Balton, said while political commentary and critical reflection were perfectly acceptable in academic institutions, they must be based on rational and intellectual foundations.

“History, and the understanding and teaching thereof, is a key component of interpreting our past and current processes of change,” Balton added. The Star


MATTER OF FACT (23 September 2014)

The Star apologises to the National School of Arts (NSA) for causing it unnecessary harm by falsely and unfairly implying that it may have been supportive of possible racist behaviour by one of its teachers in the classroom.

The school had complained to the press ombud about a front page lead, published on 3 June 2014, headlined ‘Racist’ teacher outrage – Pupils upset at the denigration of blacks; about an online article (School backs ‘racist’ teacher); and about a street poster (‘Racist’ teacher uproar).

The stories were about a Grade 8 history teacher at the NSA who reportedly was “in trouble” with the Gauteng Department of Basic Education for allegedly using racial slurs in class.

Ombud Johan Retief found that the subhead of the lead story, the headline on the second one and to a lesser extent the street poster, as well as one sentence in each of the stories, were incorrect and/or unfair.

He reprimanded the newspaper for incorrectly reporting that two other parents had visited the school to complain of racism, when in fact they had not done so.

However, Retief dismissed several parts of the complaint, such as that we had been wrong to name the teacher in question, and for having used the word “racist” (in inverted commas) in the headlines.

To see the full judgment, go to