Behind the questions loudly asked about the recent incident at Brackenfell High School in Cape Town is a much deeper question, only softly asked – if it is asked at all.
On 17 October, there was a private, unofficial party at a wine farm, attended by 42 of the school’s 254 matriculants and by three teachers. All were white. (Of the total matriculants at the school, 170 were white, 50 coloured and 34 black.) Some black pupils found out about the party, to which they had not been invited, and were upset. The EFF staged raucous protests at the school. White parents opposed them in a show of force. There were violent scuffles, with a big police present. There was uproar in the media about racism.
Minor questions first. Is it wrong for organisers of a private party to invite whomever they want? Or should all private parties fall under the ANC’s Employment Equity Act, where the number of attendees should be forced by law to try to represent the racial proportions of the population at large? If, say, some Soweto school arranged a private, unofficial party at a venue outside the school for some pupils and teachers, would the race inspectors be entitled to do a racial audit of the attendees and charge the organisers if there were not suitable proportions of whites, ‘Africans’, ‘coloureds’ and ‘Indians’? (All terms used by ANC lawmakers.)
Some DA members compared the EFF’s red paramilitary bullyboys with the brown-shirted bullyboys of the Nazi SA (Sturmabteiling) in the 1920s. (Historical note: after the SA had helped Hitler to power, he murdered its leaders and disbanded it.) The comparison was criticised by Jewish groups on the grounds that the Nazi Holocaust was uniquely evil. That was true in 1945, but in the 1920s the Brownshirts were simply a private political army of bigots and bullies causing violent trouble wherever they could – just like the EFF.
The deeper question
Here is the deeper question. Why do so many black parents, including all the black elite, want white teachers for their children? Why are they so horrified at the idea of black teachers? The governor of a Model-C school in the Western Cape told me this. About fifteen years ago, the school had half white pupils and half black, but all the teachers were white. There was a vacancy for a teaching post, and the school authorities asked all the parents if they’d accept a black teacher. All the white parents said yes; all the black parents said no. Cyril Ramaphosa and Julius Malema feel the same as these black parents, and so do most black leaders throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including Robert Mugabe. They include liberation leaders who shout and scream against colonialism, and then send their sons to Eton.
Most schools in South Africa have mainly black teachers. Why don’t black leaders send their children to these schools? (For that matter, why don’t woke whites, who continually speak about the need for ‘racial redress’, send their children to schools with mainly black affirmative action teachers?) Julius Malema was asked why, since he had said public representatives should use public utilities, he sent his own son to an elitist private school. He replied that the public schools were ‘dysfunctional and poor’. An elitist, he wouldn’t want his son to mix with poor people. But what did he mean by ‘dysfunctional’? It is difficult to avoid the suspicion he might have meant ‘black’. And this, I greatly fear, lies at the heart of the whole racial problem between white and black, a deep feeling of doubt and uncertainty among the black leaders.
There have been many instances where black pupils, deliberately sent by their parents to schools where most of the teachers are white, then complain about their being ‘racist’ and not respecting African culture. Why didn’t they send the children to schools where the teachers are all black, all from African culture?
It is true that the ANC, despite spending vast amounts of tax-payers’ money on education, has wrecked state education, and surrendered it to SADTU, the black teaching union. This is part of the reason black parents would not send their children to a SADTU school or one where the ANC has allowed its amenities to fall into disrepair.
But I don’t think this is all of the reason they shun black teachers. I think the problem is deeper than that, lying right at the heart of the black African psyche all over the world. I believe I know the reasons why, which have nothing to do with race and everything to do with geography and history. But such reasons may never be discussed openly in South Africa today.
I believe anybody should be free to send their children to any school they want, regardless of the race of the teachers and pupils. I’d just like to know why rich black parents always choose schools with mainly white teachers – in a country where less than 8% of the population is white.
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR
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