When you are starting your schooling in a new institution, they usually hand out a book, a guideline, on how one’s general appearance should be. I think it’s pretty standard across the board with a few exceptions here and there. These guidelines are given to us to create uniformity, because we, as students represent the institution at all times.
Now, when I say that it is usually the same across the board, you find that they demand that we wear the uniform accordingly, with recommendations on other outward appearances, such as our nails and our hair. Schools are particularly strict about their appearance, often policing girls on what they can or cannot do with their hair. I would like to think that Pretoria Girl’s High is not an exception.
According to their policy on appearance, particularly hair, the school maintains:
“All hair must be brushed. If hair is long enough to be tied back, it must be tied back neatly in a ponytail…
… Conrows, natural dreadlocks, singles/braids (with or without extensions) are allowed, provided that they are a maximum of 10mm in diameter. Singles/braids must be the same length and be the natural colour of the girl’s natural hair. Braids shorter than the collar length must be kept off the face with a plain navy or tortoise shell alice band. Longer braids must be tied back. No beads or decorations in the hair. Conrows must run parallel from each other from the forehead to the nape of the neck. No patterned conrows.”
Full policy on Pretoria Girls Code of Conduct
Please help me out with this because, I for the life of me, cannot find the part where Afros are not allowed to be worn. Whiteness wrote a whole entire paragraph on how to police black children and their general appearance, but they wrote nothing on the Afro. So why are you not letting our children wear their natural hair with pride?
We, raise our children to take pride in themselves, in their blackness, their hair, their melanin, their culture and all that comes with being unapologetically black.
WE DO NOT ENROLL OUR KIDS TO “YOUR” SCHOOLS SO THAT YOU CAN TELL THEM NOT TO BE TOO PROUD. YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL OUR CHILDREN TO ONLY BE BLACK WHEN THEY GET HOME.
Whiteness wants to preach unity, colourblindness and all the other bullshit but when a child of colour dons the God given hair that they have grown with pride, you want to tell them that is goes against school policy?
In my own experiences as a child of colour, I remember being told to relax my hair because my Afro was too big and the children behind me could not see in class. I remember having to get my mom to write a letter to the school to tell them that my dreadlocks could not “be done away with” because they were there for “religious reasons”. I remember all too well how the white teachers would tell us that we shouldn’t keep braids in our hair for longer than a week because we cause lice problems in the schools with our dirty, unwashed hair.
*But all these white girls in school always told me that lice went for clean hair. I never understood…*
It is painful to see children in 2016 protest for the chance to be black in school. It is a pain to have to see young, black girls put their hands up in protest, chanting “arrest us” for their blackness. It is extra painful when you realise that our fight for equality keeps falling at the hands of the youth.
We are commending these children for being brave, but they shouldn’t have to be. Not in this “free South Africa”. Not on our Land.
|Source – https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/stop-racism-at-pretoria-girls-high|
Signed: Siyamthanda Gaxamba