Cape Town - The Parklands College history teacher behind the controversial “racist” school task requiring Grade 7 pupils to design a poster to advertise a slave auction has quit her job.
The resignation comes as the SA Human Rights Commission said it would probe the matter and the Independent Schools’ Association of SA indicated that it would weigh in as well.
The independent school had come under fire following the assignment, labelled a “fun activity”, asking pupils to create a poster for a slave trade auction in 30 minutes.
“The person with the best advertisement will get a Cadbury slab of chocolate when you get back to school,” the task read.
The pupils were also given two slide sample advertisements of a slave trade with pictures of black men standing to be auctioned, with the words, “Land and negros for sale!” “To be sold, a cargo of 94 prime healthy negros, 39 men, 15 boys, 24 women and 16 girls. Just arrived.”
Secondary faculty principal Sylvia Steyn said on Wednesday that the 31-year-old teacher had been at the school since September last year.
“The exercise, directed at our Grade 7 learners, was clearly offensive. The slave trade can under no circumstances be linked to ‘fun events’, ever.
“Nor can the perpetuation of stereotypes and colonially influenced history be condoned by us as a centre of learning.
“The Grade 7 history educator has chosen to submit her resignation,” Steyn confirmed.
The school has since committed to re-evaluating its curriculum, while an online survey will be forwarded to parents, past pupils and staff who wish to notify them of any discrimination.
Staff will also attend workshops to identify any policies, processes, procedures or parts of the curriculum that may be discriminatory.
The Western Cape
Education Department had urged pupils to report any incidents, while
Elijah Mhlanga, the spokesperson for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, said he was waiting for more information on the matter.