South African Presidency takes up school racism issue

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 04, 2012 10:51 hrs

Pretoria, Nov 4 (IBNS) The Presidency of South Africa has referred the matter of reported racism incidents in Boksburg (Gauteng) school and subsequent demand of investigation into prevalence of racism in South Africa schools to Ministry of Basic Education.

In an email from Pretoria to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; Matho Mhlongo, Director Support Services of The Presidency, wrote: "Please note that the matter has been referred to Mr Steve Mabua, Private Secretary to the Minister of Basic Education for her attention."

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had earlier asked for nationwide investigation into prevalence of racism in South Africa schools in view of the reported incidents of racism in Boksburg school.

Supporting Zed's demand, Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer, prominent Jewish leader in western USA, and Reverend Jikai' Phil Bryan, well known Buddhist leader in Nevada (USA), had also stressed that South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Paula Mokonyane should come out openly and strongly against this racist episode and make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future.

Thanking the South African Presidency for quick response, Zed, in a statement, said that he hoped that Basic Education Ministry would thoroughly look into the issue of racism in South African schools and come up with effective, long-lasting and practical solutions.

There should not be any place for racism in 21st century South Africa, Zed noted.

Earlier; Zed, Rabbi Beyer and Reverend Bryan, in a joint statement in Nevada, said that it was highly disturbing and unacceptable that innocent, primary schoolchildren had to go through such racist nightmare, including verbal abuse and discrimination, just for wearing traditional Hindu red string around their wrists as reported in Boksburg.

According to reports, one grade-three student faced racial and derogatory slurs for the last three years (it started when he was in grade one) from the teacher in front of classmates for wearing the religious string and was asked to remove it.

When complained, he was told to hide the red string with a jersey. Several other parents have since come out with similar allegations.

Boksburg, where gold was discovered in 1887, forms part of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality with Mondli Gungubele as the Mayor.

Hindus form a considerable part of South Africa population; elaborate Diwali festivals are held in Johannesburg and Cape Town every year; and there are Hindu temples and ashrams in Johannesburg, Durban, etc.

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