By Tsepiso Theko
Former and current pupils at Clarendon high school for girls in the Eastern Cape speak up of racism in the school. This is after the school’s management took to social and mainstream media that they stand against the #Blacklivesmatter movement. Black students at Clarendon felt that the school’s stance was contradicting the lived experiences of black students in the school. The girls have formed a collective voice, UN-SILENCED,which demands change in a school that is said to be racist and exclusive of black students. It is a group of black,colored, Indian and white girls,old and current, who are standing against the schools system that is not inclusive of black students .In a letter written to manangement and media on 16 June ,students bemoaned about,amongst many other things;
(1)mispronouncing of their names,
(2) not being allowed to speak their mother tounge within school premises,
(Sexualizing and policing bodies of black students,girls in particular and demeaning African hair. Students also raised that the school disregards black students and that they have been subjected to remarks like get over it’ whenever they voice out their complaints,suggesting that they were overreacting . It was noted in the letter that complaints go unsolved and accusations denied by management and staff.
Athambile Masola,who is a former black student at Clarendon high,was in a conversation about institutionalised racism with Michelle Craig on Newzroom Africa. In the coversation, Athambile said these experiences were traumatic and even worse when you live them again in your workplaces. She continued to share how the innocence of a black child in elite school was striped off and that the good education did not save her from racism.
A petition is currently being signed by Clarendon high, classes from as back as 1999.
UN-SILENCED is currently in the process of compiling testimonies of student’s experiences.
Pretoria high school for girls have also raised their voices against racism and are also circulating a petition against bad treatment and exclusion of black students. The UN-SILENCED movement is hoping that other students who have been subjected to exclusion and discrimination in elite schools will come out and fight against racism .