students from south africa’s pretoria high school for girls take powerful stance against white policing of black hair

August 29, 2016

The students from South Africa’s Pretoria High School for Girls are making a powerful stance against the institutionalized white supremacist policies embedded into South Africa’s formerly segregated “Model C” system and the white policing of black hair. This past Saturday, during the school’s annual Spring Fair, students peacefully and silently marched in protest of the policies until teachers and parent volunteers threatened to call the police to have the girls arrested.

As some outlets report, the ban is not entirely against dreadlocks, cornrows, and braids, hair must be confined to a ponytail and the aforementioned protective styles mustn’t be longer than 10mm or .39 inches. While afros and other free-flowing styles are not explicitly banned either, some students report being told that their locs are “untidy” and need to be straightened. One student claims to have been told, “She said my hair looks like a bird’s nest. She said my hair was untidy but I take time every morning to make up my hair. I do not see anything wrong with my hair,” as reported by ENCA.

Since protests have began, folks around the world are showing support through the #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh hashtag.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

Pictured above: Zulaikha Pate

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at erin@afropunk.com.