The invitation for the controversial Brackenfell High School matric farewell function.
The invitation for the controversial Brackenfell High School matric farewell function.

Inside Brackenfell High School’s ‘white matric ball’

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town – The Daily Voice can reveal details of the controversial private matric function which is at the heart of allegations of racism against Brackenfell High School.

According to an invitation flyer, the “Masquerade Ball MX’20” event was held at Skilpadvlei Wine Farm in Stellenbosch on October 17.

The cost was R500 per person and attendance was “limited to 100 people”.

The flyer was distributed on a WhatsApp group called “Matrix 2020” which listed several teachers as members.

The flyer with information about the matric ball was shared in a private WhatsApp group.

Screenshots from the group were leaked to the Daily Voice by several sources at the school.

A matric pupil of colour told the Daily Voice they were not included in this private chat group: “We have class WhatsApp groups where information is usually shared, but it was not the case on the event which clearly shows we were meant to be excluded.”

Present and past pupils, as well as parents have taken to social media to lash out against the school and its teachers, whom they accuse of segregation and organising a “whites-only matric ball”.

The school governing body (SGB) and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), however, both pointed out that it was not an official school event.

The WCED said: “We are aware that a private event – which was not organised by the school – was held.

“Two educators were invited to the event and attended as guests.”

However, according to the guest list, which has been shared with the Daily Voice, at least four teachers were among the 77 guests on the seating plan.

The students’ names are blacked out to protect their identities.

SEATING: Teachers on guest list

Responding to questions about the list, WCED spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, said only 42 out of the school’s Grade 12 group of 254 matriculants attended the event.

“Brackenfell High does allow pupils to bring outside partners to a matric ball, given that they are under 21.

“Two WCED teachers and one SGB teacher attended the event. They were within their rights to attend a dinner at the invitation of a parent.”

A company that does photography and videos of school events uploaded a video of guests arriving at the event on the “Hoerskool Brackenfell High” YouTube channel.

An upset black matric pupil said: “They rubbed it in our faces when they posted it on the school social media platform, and one of the people that planned it is in the SGB.

“On the SGB it’s white parents only because when they elect people, they speak in Afrikaans.”

The video, titled “Matric Farewell Mask Ball”, was later removed after garnering over 1000 views.

Asked to explain the title and why the video was removed, Bronagh said: “We do not have access to private companies’ content on private events.

“Yes, the company also works for the school, it works for many clients.

“There is nothing wrong with the parents using a familiar company that have had previous experience with at the school.”

But a coloured matric believes non-white pupils were deliberately excluded from attending the event.

“There are 170 white, 50 coloured and 34 black matriculants. You want to tell me out of all these coloured and black matriculants, the white children did not have a single person they are friends with or get along with to invite to the event?”

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said she was waiting for a full written report on the event.

[email protected]

Share this article: