#RacismAtPMBGHS: School rocked by girl's racist rant

File picture: Facebook

File picture: Facebook

Published Jun 6, 2017

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Pietermaritzburg - A prestigious KwaZulu-Natal school rocked by a racism scandal after audio recordings in which a girl - purported to be a Grade 11 pupil at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School - repeatedly uses the word “k******”, dominated social media on Monday.

“I’m so offended right now. F****** k****** don’t know how to pronounce my name. Yoh they going to get it from me on Monday. You don’t dare put me on that (sic)” the girl says in the first of the two recordings.

In the second, she says: “ But at the end of the day I still have to put up with this whole flipping grade. Flipping k****** not knowing how to flipping spell and pronounce my name. ’Cos you’re not in my shoes right now.”

The girl’s identity has not yet been confirmed. The recordings were circulated widely on various social media platforms.

One Twitter user posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation which said the racist rant was apparently spurred by someone on the Spring Ball committee for the Grade 11s, misspelling the name of the girl in the recording.

The school referred all queries to the Department of Education.

But the school governing body issued a statement, in which it said it “would like to make it clear that the school has zero tolerance to racism of any kind”.

“We explicitly promote human dignity and equality,” the school governing body said. “We condemn in the strongest terms the racist language used in the voice note circulating on social media.” The school governing body went on to say that it was working with the department and attending to the matter “with the urgency and importance that it deserves”.

“We cannot confirm the identity of the party involved as she is a minor. Please respect this,” it said. “As soon as it was possible the KZN Department of Education was informed and has responded promptly”.

It said the school’s acting principal, a departmental official and the SGB chair had addressed all pupils and staff at school on Monday, “to make it clear that action is being taken”.

“The correct procedures and disciplinary actions are being followed,” it said. “This matter is contrary to the beliefs and ethos of our school. We do not tolerate racism.”

Spokesperson for the department, Sicelo Khuzwayo, said on Monday they were investigating.

“At this stage we want to get a clear understanding of what happened,” he said. “We want time to look into the matter.”

He said the department was “very disappointed”.

“We are totally against any form of racism,” Khuzwayo said.

South Africans in general reacted strongly on social media and #GHSProtectYourGirls and #RacismAtPMBGHS were trending on Twitter.

Much of their anger was directed at the school, despite the SGB’s statement.

One Twitter user wrote, “Ghs condones racism. They are justifying apartheid. It has been made clear that it is not a place for a black child!! #GhsDefendYourGirls”.

Another wrote, “How does Ghs find this okay??? How is the black child not a victim?? How can they ‘turn a blind’ eye?? How??? #GhsDefendYourGirls”.

Some alleged that the girl in question’s excuse was that she was “stressed”.

“Imagine insulting an entire race because you are stressed. #RacismAtPMBGHS #GhsDefendYourGirls,” one Twitter user said in response to this.

Last August, educators at Pretoria Girls’ High School were accused of calling black pupils “monkeys” and making them straighten their hair.

And earlier this year, three Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupils got into trouble for producing and circulating a racist song.

The Mercury

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