Alumni And Current Students Open Up About Their Discriminatory Experiences at Cape Town Schools

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Via the Instagram account, @yousilenceweamplify, past and present students have been sharing their experiences of discrimination while attending private schools and former Model C schools in Cape Town.

One such school is Bishops Diocesan College in Rondebosch, where a group of matriculants lead a protest against the discrimination of minority groups at the school and have put forward a list of demands for the school to adopt. Some of the demands include:

  • Allowing the children of maintenance and ground staff access to bursaries and funding available to teacher’s children
  • Compulsory discussions and presentations managed by independent bodies on the oppression of the minority and vulnerable groups for new students, current teaching staff and parents
  • Discarding of current hair policies
  • Having an independent, diverse disciplinary committee to deal with issues around discrimination, so that it is not swept under the rug
  • Stricter disciplinary measures against staff and learners who discriminate against minority and vulnerable groups
  • The promotion of isiXhosa at the school
  • Decolonisation of the syllabus, with a specific focus on how historical events are taught at the Preparatory and College levels
  • A system that makes it easier to report discrimination so that learners would be more comfortable to report cases
  • Establishing a Pride society for queer students

Students at Bishop’s also demanded an official statement from the school to acknowledge their role and history of perpetuating racism and the lack of effective action against it. Teachers and staff in management positions are expected to pledge that they will honour these demands. These pledges must be completed by 28 June.

Other schools such as Herschel Girls School, Rustenburg Girls High School and Wynberg Girls School have released statements to announce that they are opening discussions on how they can create a more inclusive school environment.