Gauteng education MEC Lesufi Panyaza has condemned a viral video of a teacher roughly combing a pupil’s hair at an unnamed school.
In the video, the woman can be seen holding her class outside while she makes a row of boys line up to have their natural hair combed before entering the school gates. In the background, pupils can be heard disagreeing with the teacher’s style of combing.
Lesufi said the act was “totally unacceptable” and asked that it be verified by his colleagues.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also weighed in on the video, saying the act was “child abuse, black self-hate and definitively illegal”.
“This woman must be found and put to the book. You can’t teach kids to hate their hair. No! Her treatment of black hair is the same as that of white racists who tell black kids to remove or hide their Afros,” Ndlozi said.
He said the best thing the teacher could have done was write a letter to the pupils’ parents instead of “violently combing” their hair.
“It’s the indignity of standing at school gates, violently combing kids’ hair. Why not write to their parents? Why not ask kids to do it themselves in a private space? In any way, why the hell must they comb? Will it make them more teachable? Why humiliate them because of hair?” he asked.
In a separate tweet, Ndlozi said there was nothing wrong with one wearing their hair naturally.
“In defence of Afro, uncombed black hair is neat, even in children. We are beautiful! And we don’t need your combs”.
Among social media users the video drew mixed reactions, with many justifying the teacher’s actions. Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions:
True. This should have not been recorded for the whole world to see.
— Her🧘🏾♂️ (@Mpilo_Enclaire) March 22, 2021
Yes seriously. Bo Lesufi ba senya bana straight. School is supposed to structure your life in all ways one can think of.
— Cole S Maimane (@ColeNitro) March 22, 2021
They mustn’t even think of touching kids hair… It’s wrong. Also these hair policies are rooted in oppression…. They must all be banned.
— Queen Mills ❤ (@milliselale) March 22, 2021
Is their parents who should teach them basic needs of cleanliness. For a teacher to do that is unnecessary, punish the child with other means and not act like hair security
— Matastas (@Matastas1) March 22, 2021
I support this… In the real world, how you look matters. These kids must learn. Also, we honestly let these kids get away with too much these days🙄. Rules are made for a reason!
— Patsy Ramantswana (@Patsy_Rrrr) March 23, 2021