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‘They were called trees’: WCED says no evidence of afro comments at CT school

Black and coloured teenagers from a Blue Downs school said they were told to plait their hair and tie up their afros.

Afro generic. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education MEC said initial investigations have not turned up any evidence to support claims that girls at a local school were subjected to derogatory comments about their hair.

Black and coloured teenagers from a Blue Downs school said they were told to plait their hair and tie up their afros.

When some refused to comply, they were slapped with disciplinary action.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said: “I’m advised that there was no evidence that such comments were made. But that issue was taken with some girls for not complying with the hair policy. Hair is required to be neat and tied up. The issue of afros has not been an issue until now. It has been referred to the SGB (school governing body) for review of the policy.”

Brenton Riddles is a parent of one of the learners who did comply with the instruction to tie back her hair. While his daughter won’t face disciplinary action, Riddles said he was troubled by what his daughter told him.

“They were called trees because of the way their hair is. I think it's stupid that the children are being targeted because of their hair. Their hair does not impact their studies. Why are they concentrating on hair?”