JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A photo showing a small group of black children sitting at a separate table away from white children at a South African school has caused outrage on social media.
Officials have launched an investigation into alleged racism at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke kindergarten in North West province, education department spokesperson Freddy Sepeng said on Wednesday.
“We’re not sure whether the picture is fake or real, if it’s real we’re condemning it, we say not during this era, we cannot accept it. Tomorrow [Thursday] the [member of the executive
The mother of a grade R learner was left fuming after seeing the picture of her child and three other black children sitting separately from the white children in their class.
The picture was shared on the school’s WhatsApp group by the children’s class teacher.
“This was meant to be an exciting day for me but it’s not,” the unnamed parent told TimesLIVE.
She and other parents dropped their children off and were asked to leave the school premises.
At 9AM, they received an update from the children’s teacher on how their day was going via the WhatsApp group.
The picture showed the 18 white learners in the classroom all occupying a single large desk in the middle of the classroom, while the four black children in the class occupied one desk in a corner at the far end of the classroom.
“All I saw was messages from the white parents saying ‘dankie, dankie’ [‘thank you, thank you’ on the WhatsApp group] but no one was saying anything about the separation of the learners,” said the fuming mother.
She said after discussing this with another parent outside of the WhatsApp group, that parent contacted the school principal to ask about the seating arrangements
Reports say the principal said she was not aware of the situation.
The opposition Democratic Alliance party condemned the incident.
“It is outrageous that a classroom in 2019 can be racially segregated, which only serves to teach young children from day one to see each other as different and separate. This is unconscionable,” said Luyolo Mphithi, Federal DA Youth Leader.