Parklands College has apologised for the "insensitive nature" of a Grade 7 assignment which required the learners to make a poster for a slave trade auction. Picture: Parklands College/Facebook
Parklands College has apologised for the "insensitive nature" of a Grade 7 assignment which required the learners to make a poster for a slave trade auction. Picture: Parklands College/Facebook

Parklands College responds to fury over slave auction assignment

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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Cape Town - Parklands College has apologised for the "insensitive nature" of a Grade 7 assignment which required the learners to make a poster for a slave trade auction.

A picture was shared on social media on Monday showing a presentation slide on the Transatlantic Slave Trade which details an assignment Grade 7 pupils are required to complete. The slide mentions:

Fun Activity

Advertisements were placed in newspapers to advertise the slave auction that would be taking place.

You will create an advertisement regarding a slave trade auction that will be taking place, on Friday, 24 April 1835. You will have 30 minutes to create the advert and have it posted in the assignment link shared on Google class today.

The person with the best advertisement will get a Cadbury slab of chocolate when we get back to school. 

This is a fun activity and it will not count for marks. Be creative and have some fun.

Following the outrage from parents over the assignment, the school issued an apology and said that the slide has been removed and the teacher has apologised "for not thinking it through".

Picture: Supplied

Sylvia Steyn, Secondary Faculty principal said: "The activity was intended to establish awareness of the slave trade and the manner in which the slaves were treated, as well as to teach the learners about using resources. However, we acknowledge that the activity should have been worded differently."

Thereafter, the school issued a second apology acknowledging "a serious error in judgement" and that this assignment was "totally unacceptable".

"We further acknowledge that the response and outcry regarding the activity on slavery is justified. We acknowledge the need to investigate the curriculum in order to prevent a recurrence of this. We acknowledge the sentiments expressed by the 'Black Lives Matter' movement," Steyn said.

The principal added that the educator would be required to undergo re-education on equality, diversity, and inclusion before returning to a classroom.

"We acknowledge the need for an intensified approach to diversity training for all staff. We acknowledge the need for increased transparency and engagement with our learners. We acknowledge our responsibility to protect and nurture the interests of every learner.

"We acknowledge that what happened must never be allowed to happen again. We acknowledge the need for constructive engagement and invite correspondence in this regard."

Many people took to the school's Facebook page to share their views on the apology:

Namhla Manjezi: "How do kids (be) given such a disgusting slave trade project? This teacher has opened up the wounds that are about to heal. Such teachers must never be given such apartheid projects."

Dillan Prince: "Saying you acknowledge it doesn’t mean you fixing it. Follow bishops with the demands their students want and implant it into your school as a way to say sorry for glorifying the slave trade."

Jeanne-Marie Massyn: "We acknowledge does not replace an apology..."

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/MidstreamCol?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MidstreamColkindly explain how this was even considered ? pic.twitter.com/2Eks1n6pU9

— Straat Mate ✨ (@mreabetswe1)

Cape Argus

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