Equal Education calls for an end to institutional racism in Western Cape schools

Equal Education calls for an end to institutional racism in Western Cape schools

Public backlash over the Brackenfell High School Whites-only matric celebration continues. Equal Education says the incident is one manifestation of the racism found in schools across the Western Cape.

“The fact that the white kids didn’t see anything wrong with a “whites only” party at the school says a lot about the kind of future Brackenfell students should look forward to. The whole scandal is racially motivated in a way that it makes POC (people of colour) look and feel less of humans, which is completely wrong. POC were protesting against racism outside of Brackenfell High and were still attacked which is very disturbing. It is a shame that in our democratic dispensation, you still get such racially motivated acts. Personally, the principal should be held accountable, as he is the leader and is the one to promote a non-racial environment,” says Equal Education learner member (Equaliser) Mihlali Mateta.

The rights organisation says the fight for equal and quality education requires the dismantling of institutional racism (racist policies and practices) being experienced by Black learners (learners of colour) at formerly white public and private schools.

It is describing Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s response to the incident as “tone deaf, disturbing and shows deliberate ignorance of what racism and discrimination is and how it plays out in schools.”

 In her official statement, Schäfer dismissed the discrimination as a private event. She said the teachers who attended the celebration would not be disciplined as they were at the event in their private capacity.

“This results in schools like Brackenfell High School continuing to be non-inclusive spaces, hostile at times to Black people.When the Western Cape MEC of Education lacks the political will to see basic racial discrimination, how will the department which she oversees be able to properly address long-standing problematic policies, practices and cultures in schools, and what hope do Black learners in the Western Cape have of attending schools that are safe and integrated?,” asks Equal Education.

The organisation is calling on the school community of Brackenfell High, the Western Cape Education Department and the Commissioner for Children in the Western Cape to play a more proactive role in investigating and addressing all complaints of racism at the school and uprooting institutional racism in schools in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, Sibongile Nkasayi, who was caught on camera being beaten by an unidentified man, has opened a case of assault against her assailant.

No arrest has yet been made.

And the man arrested for discharging a firearm during the Economic Freedom Fighters’ protest at the school on Monday appeared in court on Wednesday.

Jaco Pretorious’ case was postponed for further investigations and he will return to the Kuils River Magistrates Court 25 January 2021.

The EFF has promised to return to the school to “teach racists” a lesson.

The school tried to interdict them but failed.