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Susan Shabangu: Hair policy at PTA High School for Girls 'racist'

She gave the opening address at a roundtable discussion on the legacy of apartheid on black image.

Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister in the Presidency responsible for women Susan Shabangu says the hair policy at Pretoria High School for Girls is racist and seeks to erode the identity of black pupils.

Shabangu gave the opening address at a roundtable discussion on the legacy of apartheid on black image.

Pupils at the school have been speaking out against the practice of dictating how black girls should wear their hair.

Academics, researchers and scientists have discussed the harmfulness of some products for women's faces and hair.

Shabangu says black children should be allowed to express themselves.

"It becomes an issue which takes us back, but also an issue which in our education system, it once more reminds us that there's an intention to erode the reality and identity of a black child in South Africa."

Meanwhile, clinical scientist Nonhlanhla Khumalo says there is no such thing as a good hair relaxer and has cautioned that such products have the same effect as hair removal cream if left on the skin long enough.

"Why on earth would you use something that removes hair to straighten hair?"

Today's discussion aims to share the risks associated with skin bleaching, hair relaxers and what is seen as the norms of beauty for black women.