The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has expressed shock and concern following two incidents related to issues of race.
This includes allegations of racism during a field trip undertaken by Roodeplaat’s Curro School, and the massacre of nine people in a church in the USA. The Foundation’s Director, Neeshan Balton, said that the incidents are a reminder of the implications of allowing racism to foster and go unchallenged.
The most recent allegations of racism levelled against Curro School stem from a video clip showing black and white children being segregated during a field trip.
“If the recent allegations of racism against the school are true, then it would appear that the school has not heeded the outcry from the general public that its practices were not in accordance with our highest ideals. The school, it would seem, has also not taken to heart the findings of the Gauteng Department of Education,” Balton said.
He commended the Department for its quick response to the incident and its ongoing efforts at tackling racism in schools.
“Barriers such as language should not be used as an excuse to keep children separate,” Balton added.
“The justification of separating learners, as was done in this case, can easily lead to the entrenchment of racist views. An excursion is the ideal opportunity for a school to integrate learners, instead of keeping them separate.”
Balton drew links between the school incident and the USA shooting.
“The consequences of not using schools as laboratories of nation building could be seen in the Charleston church massacre. In this incident, a young white man killed nine people in a historically black church. His Facebook page shows him standing proudly in a jacket with the old South African and Rhodesian flags.
“The link between the two incidents must be obvious for all to see. If we don’t foster a spirit of non-racialism among our youth, we stand the chance of many of them growing up believing that the differences in their pigmentation means that they should not see each other as equal human beings and in some instances, as not being worthy of living.”