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'Segregated' classroom photo sparks race row in South Africa

AFP  |  Johannesburg 

A South African was suspended on Thursday after a photograph appeared to show black children sitting separately from white children in a classroom, sparking a storm of accusations.

The pupils were attending their first day at the Schweizer-Reneke school in North West province when the took a photograph to send to anxious parents.

It rapidly spread on as it showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children around a small corner table in the background.

"From the information I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism," minister said after visiting the school.

"I will send a team to do an investigation into all schools... to deal with issues of in totality."

Race relations remain tense in 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with fierce racist controversies erupting regularly on and in politics.

"We saw the photo and we were also angered by what we saw," Jozeph du Plessis, of the school's governors, told the eNCA television channel.

"The kids were quite unsettled -- you must realise they were five years old on their first day at school -- and she grouped them in a way she thought would settle them quickly and comfort them.

"There was no intent of or segregation from the teacher's side. We are investigating -- perhaps it could be a language issue, perhaps those kids are not speaking Afrikaans, but I can't speculate."


Some white parents on Thursday took their children away from the school after protesters gathered outside.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 20:05 IST
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