HANDS OFF My Hair! Racism At Pretoria Girls High

While on holiday with my best friend at the end of last year I said to her that 2016 was going to be the year of the black female.

Little did I know that when I stated that it would include black girls as young as 13.

So here is what happened.

Friday the 26th of August 2016 while in the final few days of Women’s month in South Africa a protest began.

Those of you familiar with school code of conducts would have noticed that in most cases black girls are required to tame their Afro’s into something ‘more acceptable’ and ‘presentable.’

A very well-known and previously white school has become the center of widespread angst stemming from such rules. According to learners who attend there (backed by confirmatory stories of past student), they have been forced to straighten their hair and face unsavory comments with regards to their natural hair. (The code of conduct even goes as far as to stipulate how many thick braids should be and which type of cornrows can and cannot be worn)

pta girls high

Although the protest started on Friday it truly gained momentum on Monday and as a result ‘the powers that be’ intervened. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi went to visit the school in question, Pretoria Girls’ High School, following the allegations of racism and intimidation against black schoolgirls.

Although this is all great on paper and makes for a good ‘strategy’ on behalf of the government, I do have to wonder what good this will do. There have been many occasions where an MEC would swoop in to do damage control and by the end of the week once the story had ceased to be a trending topic the matter would soon be forgotten.

One has to sit back and realize that this is a systematic problem. These rules that are being forced on young black girls where they have to model themselves to look like their white counterparts to gain acceptance is utter nonsense. We are being taught to aspire to whiteness as the standard of neatness and beauty as if what we are naturally born with is not enough.

This cannot be life in 2016 and for all of our sakes, I honestly hope that once the # falls away into disuse that we rise above it with real change.

In the meantime,  I urge you to sign the following petition. This petition is also inclusive of Muslim girls who are also discriminated.

Written by Hulisani Khorombi, Assistant Editor #MyGirlSquad

Hulisani the Intersectional Feminist. Hopeless Romantic. Lover of life. Blog:

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