Gauteng Education Department clears Curro Holdings after investigation into ‘racist’ advert

The Curro Independent School Network has come under fire after an advert went viral. Picture: X/Edited by Se-Anne Rall

The Curro Independent School Network has come under fire after an advert went viral. Picture: X/Edited by Se-Anne Rall

Published Apr 4, 2024


The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) said it conducted an investigation regarding ‘racist’ pictures that went viral on social media, and it was satisfied that Curro Holdings takes social cohesion seriously.

The investigation comes after an advert causing public outcry showed a black child “employed” as a cashier while a white child was “employed” as a veterinarian.

In a statement released on Thursday, the department said the pictures used in the social media post were from a Curro branch in the Western Cape.

GDE spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said the school went on an excursion to an activity centre where they interacted within various career contexts using career-specific apparatus.

“In this activity centre, most children had to exchange roles to experience different careers, and photos were taken of them interacting within those career roles. One child could have gone through three to four roles by the end of the day. There is pictorial evidence of different children playing different roles.

“The pictures that were posted on social media were initially shared internally within the school for a week, and there were no challenges. The error of judgement was to selectively post pictures that excluded some learners playing in other career roles, causing a public outcry as a result,” Mabona said.

Mabona added that the mother of the learner depicted as a cashier in one of the photos that were posted is aware of the matter and has expressed support for the school and also gave the school permission to engage in the matter.

“Curro operates on four core values: child friendliness, Christian ethos, creativity and positive discipline. In cases where there are infringements to the core values of the group, those who are found guilty are held accountable.

“In the investigation, Curro Holdings expressed a zero tolerance towards discrimination of any kind, in particular, racial discrimination. An example of this is the dismissal of the headmaster at one Curro school who had called black teachers monkeys.” Mabona added.

In addition, Mabona said Curro Holdings conducts surveys on an annual basis to staff, parents and learners across its campuses to assess, among other things, whether all stakeholders feel included.

“Most of the results come out positive. However, there are fewer instances of non-inclusion. In these cases, Curro Holdings investigates and intervenes.”

Meanwhile, Gauteng MEC Matome Chiloane said they were satisfied that Curro takes social cohesion seriously.

“Their footprint in Gauteng’s education system is significant, hence we will always intervene in matters that involve racial discrimination at schools,” said Chiloane.

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