Pretoria Girls High students protest against apparent racist hair policy

Monday, August 29, 2016 - 15:15

A South African minister has thrown his support behind protesting female students, who accuse their high school of operating a racist hair policy.

Black pupils at the private Pretoria Girls High say they have often been told to straighten their hair.

"Schools should not be used as a platform to discourage students from embracing their African identity," Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa tweeted in support.

The school has not yet commented.

The school's code of conduct has a detailed list of rules about hair, but does not specifically mention the afro hairstyle, which some pupils say they are banned from having.

The minister also criticised the school over student complaints that they had been warned not to speak to each other in their own languages.

"It is unacceptable to ban students from speaking their African languages at school", he wrote on Twitter.

A petition calling for an end to racism at Pretoria High has gathered almost 15,000 signatures in 24 hours.