Brackenfell High School to implement diversity training, first black head boy speaks out
Cape Town - Brackenfell High school is in the process of addressing concerns and putting measures in place to facilitate diversity.
Their transformation policy came under fire recently following an alleged whites-only matric event held a few weeks ago.
The school governing body has since apologised for the event as well as all violence that took place outside the school following the private function.
In a statement sent out by the SGB, and signed by the principal, they said they “fully commit to participate in future discussions with learners as well as parents in order to ensure a constructive way forward.
“The school has also undertaken to expand and adapt in order to make the school a better place where all our children will be adequately equipped to function in a multicultural society where we embrace diversity and inclusivity.”
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department would not launch an investigation into racism allegations at the school as a result of the event which she said the “school did not organise, host, arrange or endorse this event”.
“It is therefore nonsensical to suggest that we charge or suspend the principal or teachers for an event that they had not organised,” she said.
Hammond, however, conceded “that the teaching staff team have lacked diversity over the past few years.
“As a department, we do believe that there needs to be an increased emphasis on diversity at the school. The WCED will therefore engage the school on this in the weeks to come.”
The school has 1 500 pupils and 90 staff members, of those only 15% (225) of the pupils are of colour and all staff members are white.
The school’s first black head boy, Luvuyo Mose, spoke about how he and his peers were made to feel like they did not belong.
“We felt out of place, unwanted, like we were not supposed to be there,” he said.
Mose was head boy in 2014 and alleged he was denied the opportunity to be rugby captain even though his teammates had elected him.
“The coach said the team needed someone more senior. I was scratched out and a white boy was hand-picked by the coach. The racism at the school is and has always been swept under the rug, I am happy about what is happening because maybe now the racism will be dealt with,” added Mose.
The SA Human Rights Commission is investigating allegations of unfair discrimination emanating from the event where some pupils were allegedly not invited.
Commissioner Andre Gaum said the investigation is still in its infancy but the school and student governing body agreed to co-operate.
“More interviews need to be conducted to determine how two teachers allegedly came to attend the event and how the rest of the school was left out. If other issues come up we will investigate those too,” he said.
Equal Education also entered the fray, condemning the organising of the function, calling for the school principal to take action.
“The fact that the white kids didn’t see anything wrong with a ’whites-only’ party says a lot about the kind of future Brackenfel students should look forward to.
’’The whole scandal is racially motivated in that it makes people of colour look and feel less of humans. Personally, the principal should be held accountable, as he is the leader, and is the one to promote a non-racial environment,” said learner member Mihlali Mateta.