A year ago during the end of May and beginning of June, you might remember that people on social media started sharing their personal stories of racist experiences at schools across the country.
The uprise of bravery in sharing stories that were largely swept under the rug, came during the same time as the #BlackLivesMatter movements and #BlackOutTuesday which saw the colour black sweep across our screens. The #BlackOutTuesday solidarity campaign was a huge form of social media advocacy.
However, it’s almost a year later and it seems that some institutions have digressed despite powerful movements and story-sharing that were meant to raise awareness toward how rife yet neatly swept under the rug racism still is in our country.
The latest school under fire is Pretoria’s ‘prestigious’ Cornwall Hill College.
Students have been exposing their tumultuous experiences, expressing that these incidences were cases of structural racism that stripped them of their identities and dreams of acceptance. Some stories dated back to 2004, while frighteningly many came from 2019-2020.
Incidents have included being called derogatory names, being separated at the tuckshop lines based on race (as per IOL), bullying and structural racism.
WATCH: Student gives heart-wrenching testimony toward her racist experiences at the school
— Patricia Visagie (@Patrweezy) May 31, 2021
Parents of students at the school located in Centurion staged a demonstration last week, according to EWN. They called for the resignation of the school’s headmaster on the basis that racial discrepancies at the school were not being dealt with. They also urged the resignation of the headmaster and chairman of the board over the “lack of commitment to the much-needed transformation agenda at the school.” (as per IOL).
One parent, Zibusiso Kganyago said that the Diversity and Transformation Committee had shown little to no effort to work on transformation measures. The anniversary of the committee is fast approaching, yet they “were yet to hold even a single meeting.”
The MEC’s spokesperson Steve Mabona said: “We are informed that some parents have made allegations of racism against the school, to the extent that some have engaged in peaceful protest outside the school to voice their displeasure. The MEC’s visit coincides with the protest by concerned parents, and he would want to intervene and make sure that all are happy after the engagement.”
Gauteng Education MEC Panyza Lesufi has since made the promise that “racism and mistreatment would no longer take place at Cornwall.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has promised black learners and their parents that racism and mistreatment would no longer take place at #CornwallHillCollege.@pretorianews
— IOL News (@IOL) May 31, 2021
As of today, further peaceful protests were held outside of the school. A powerful testament by student Singo Ravele as seen above has gone viral detailing her first experiences of racism.
Many people on social media have commended the generation of parents and students for standing up for what they were not brave enough to do.
I went to #CornwallHillCollege I’m so glad these kids are doing what we were scared to do ❤️❤️❤️ I’m proud!
— Kholofelo (@tsholo94) May 31, 2021
The questions on many people’s minds now is, how many movements does it take, how many protests and campaigns of advocacy does it take, for institutions that are primed to better the next generation, to actually better themselves?
Picture: Twitter/ @Newsroom405