Learners Address Racism At Brackenfell High School

Current and former Brackenfell students have now also spoken out on racism experienced at the school and Brackenfell continues to be slashed following an alleged 'whites-only' event. The school is now taking their response to the protests another step forward.

Individuals who have history at Brackenfell High School are now speaking out on their own racist experiences at the school. The school has now also taken legal action against the protests.

Current and former Brackenfell students have now also spoken out on racism experienced at the school and have said that the school has turned a blind eye to racism. A memorandum of complaints has been sent to the school, but pupils say there's been no response or accountability.

One pupil said:

I have witnessed a lot of racism. White boys would walk down the passages and push Coloured girls around and say 'Move' and white boys will scream out the k-word and it would tolerated. They wouldn't get detention, nothing. Not a hearing, nothing. They wouldn't be dealt with.

The pupil continued to say that the current situation which occurred is only a small part of the school's racist culture and that white pupils and teachers are not reprimanded when racist behaviours are seen.

"There were countless complaints brought to the school's attention and they didn't do anything about it. The school can react in a much better way," said the student. They then recommended that the school could actually listen and take feelings of learners into consideration and not only their image as "that's all they actually worry about".

Even a former rugby star of the school, Siya Ntuntwana, is coming forward and saying that he too experienced racism at the school, along with his sister. They were met with racist expletives and the student who was carrying out the behaviours only received two days of suspension from the school. He then returned to school and continued taunting the rugby star's sister. 

"Students in 2020 are still experiencing racism and it just shows thar racism still runs in Brackenfell and it's managed to be a culture," said Ntuntwana.

This outbreak of violence and complaints comes over reports of a Matric event which was allegedly organised for white pupils only. The event is said to have had only white pupils and parents in attendance, as well as two white teachers. Supporters of the school have denied that the event was organised in this way.  The school released a statement confirming that there was no official Matric farewell event and any event held was unofficial and not representing the school. 

Brackenfell High School has seeked an interdict while the EFF has given the High Court an undertaking that it won't disrupt exams at Brackenfell High School. The court has however postponed an urgent application sent the school to have the protests halted.

The school has said that it is not against the protest but rather concerned about it happening on the perimeter of the school and that it will disturb learners and staff. Matrics are also writing their final exams and they wish for them to do so in peace.

The school's lawyer, Marius Verster, said in court:

The demonstration may, for example, be carried out at the Municipal offices or at the City Hall. There are many places where they can continue with the demonstration. We simply want to protect the rights of the learners to write their Matric examinations without disturbance.

The EFF has said that being disruptive is not their intention as their lawyer said, "They would like to continue to engage in peaceful protest as they are constitutionally entitled to do. They would be prepared to give undertaking if necessary."

The political party is also set to not intimidate people or engage in violence as well as cause difficulties with access to the school. 

On Tuesday, WC Premier Alan Winde and MEC Debbie Schafer arrived at the school. When asked about the interdict, Winde replied with saying that he won't interdict but that there is one happening at the moment. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa also spoke on the situation and said, “We should not allow what has transpired at Brackenfell High School to be used by any groupings who want to cause racial polarisation."

At this most important and difficult time for matriculants not only at Brackenfell High School but around the country, the spectacle of parents and protestors coming to blows at the school gate is deeply unfortunate ... We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of non-racialism upon which our democracy was founded.

Ramaphosa described the confrontation outside the school as "deeply regrettable" and has called on all parties involved to act responsibly. The President added that allegations of racism levelled against the school needed to be urgently investigated.

The matter is set to be back in court on Monday.

WATCH: Brackenfell students speak out on racism (Source: eNCA)

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