School rules "are still seen through a white gaze" - alumni Zama Ndlovu

Pupils have spoken out against apparent racial practices, saying they are not allowed to wear their hair in it's natural state.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is meeting with management at Pretoria Girls High School to discuss the issue that has sparked student protests.

EWN reporter Thando Khubeka says a meeting at the school with pupils was very emotional. Young girls described how teachers have insulted and belittled them when they wear their hair naturally.

Khubeka says school rules state hair must be 'neat' and tied up if longer than a certain length. Dreadlocks, braids and corn rows are allowed, but there are limits on their length and width.

All styles must be 'conservative and neat', state school rules.

Listen to Thando Khubeka's interview below:

Author and columnist, Zama Ndlovu, is an alumni of Pretoria Girls High School and joins Stephen Grootes on the line to talk about her disappointment in her alma mater.

She says they fought these same struggles at the school in mid 1992 and the rules were amended at that time to include braids and corn rows, but still hair differences were not understood. Now it seems the rules have not really changed.

It is still seen through a white gaze.

Zama Ndlovu, former Pretoria Girls High pupil

Hair is still defined as 'neat' based on how white people's hair looks, she says.

It is the same attack on a black child's body... it is saddening and maddening at the same time.

Zama Ndlovu, former Pretoria Girls High pupil

She says at least during her time at the school, the country was in a state of transition, but now there is no excuse. It does not seem as if this government school has transformed at all and "the rules are still conceived around a minority."

She says hair is a part of identity and a multi-cultural and multi-racial school should be more sensitive to all the pupils under their roof.

Listen to Zama Ndlovu's interview below:


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