Rights watchdog to probe school after pupil denied entry for wearing isiphandla
There's been controversy on social media about a child who was prevented from entering the Christian Life Private School because he was wearing isiphandla, a traditional bracelet made from animal skin usually worn around the wrist.
Joanne Joseph on Afternoon Drive speaks Advocate Andre Gaum, commissioner for education at the South African Human Rights Commission, for his take on the matter from a rights point of you and what the Constitution says.
She also speaks to the nine-year-old little boy's mother, who explained that the school had presented her husband on the 23 July with a letter informing them that thy pupil cannot come into the school premises unless he takes the traditional bracelet off.
702 listeners also weighed in on the matter.
I have spoken to our provincial manager in Gauteng Buang Jones earlier and they have registered a complaint and an investigation will take place at the South African Human Rights Commission.Advocate Andre Gaum, Commissioner for education, South African Human Rights Commission
As early as 2010 we took a matter concerning a child that was wearing dreadlocks to the equality court on the basis that she was humiliated because she was also required to change her hairstyle. We actually won that case.Advocate Andre Gaum, Commissioner for education, South African Human Rights Commission
The principle is that there should be a reasonable accommodation and schools' codes of conduct, including that of private schools, need to be amended to be in line with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.Advocate Andre Gaum, Commissioner for education, South African Human Rights Commission
Nelly Mthembu says she expected better engagement with the school over the matter
That is why I think I am angry because I said we were expecting the school to engage with us and call us to explain the matter just to find out why he was wearing isiphandla in a Cristian school.Nelly Mthembu, Mother of boy
The Christian Life Private School says isiphandla brings with it a belief in the protection of the ancestors, which is contradictory to their belief in the blood of Jesus and His victory on the cross of Calvary.
Mthembu says when she and her husband met with the school representatives, who included the school’s pastor and the principal, it became emotional as the pastor quoted the scriptures and said that the spirit and ancestors were regarded as demonic entities.
She can not conclude about the black culture because she does not know anything about the black culture hence we were supposed to be called in to explain to them.Nelly Mthembu, Mother of boy
Mthembu says her son her son is hurt and confused as to what he had done wrong.
I am trying not to get emotional but I can’t help itNelly Mthembu, Mother of boy
Mthembu is cutting ties with the school but will continue fighting as many other parents could be experiencing the same discrimination in schools.
Listen below for the full interview...
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