CHALLENGE: Parents for Change taking on the school’s alleged anti-transformation attitude
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, said the wise Nelson Mandela.

Never a truer has been spoken.

It’s the one thing that, in the long term, can cure this sick country of all its ills.

It can take you from a pandok to a palace, from a luisgat to a larney, from Tafelsig to Table View, from Bishop Lavis to Bishopscourt... OK, you get the picture.

It’s more important than affirmative action and BEE.

It’s the ultimate tool of “transformation”.

You’re probably thinking that Munier is going out of his way to state the obvious here.

But apparently, this simple, universal truth is lost on the smart people of Rustenburg Girls School.

The elite school in Rosebank came under fire this week for trying to block a poor, black girl from Khayelitsha from being admitted to their junior school.

American couple Dick and Paula How had offered to sponsor the child’s school fees for 12 years.

“We wish to help one small child to have a chance in the world,” they said.

May God bless both of them in abundance.

The school was not too keen on the idea. Among the reasons for not accepting the child were:

  • A lack of real support at home on many levels - management of homework
  • Contracting reliable transport to and from school
  • Participation in events after school hours
  • Friendships at school often result in play dates, which can become tricky because of the distance in travel, and result in a child feeling isolated and excluded.

Agreed, some of these are real problems.

Former RGJS onnie Nozipho Mthembu

Home support and transport are challenges. Life is full of challenges. No one said it was easy to turn a poor township child into a success.

It doesn’t seem Rustenburg is up for that challenge, though.

No, what is clear from the school’s response is that it is not prepared to work towards uplifting disadvantaged children.

So they will educate privileged kids from privileged areas to be our future leaders.

They will ensure that privileged kids remain privileged in the future.

But the worst part of the school’s response was pointing out the difficulty with “friendships” and “play dates”.

So Rustenburg is not just seemingly anti-transformation, but anti-integration too.

Eish. Does the school management really not see the value of getting learners from different communities to learn about each other’s culture and living conditions?

That itself is an education.

No, too “tricky”.

Munier was also disappointed in the Western Cape Education Department’s response.

“The matter regarding the financing of the pupil by the donor is not a prerequisite for immediate admission.”

Net so. Money is not enough.

Look, it’s not illegal to deny a poor laaitie a place in your school. Each school has its own admission policy.

Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School

But what does a poor girl from Khayelitsha have to do to get good schooling in this town?

So much for transformation, ne Debbie Schäfer?

The MEC for Education has been in the bad books for defending Rustenburg in another transformation controversy.

This after-school heads allegedly forced Rustenburg’s first black teacher Nozipho Mthembu to resign recently.

The Grade 5 teacher, who was a former pupil at the same school, was apparently deemed incompetent.

This opened a whole can of worms, with mense forming a Parents for Change group, and have been challenging the school’s alleged anti-transformation attitudes.

Good for them.

There can be no room for verkrampte, exclusionary or racist attitudes in our school management and governing bodies.

Schools must play their part in transforming, educating, uplifting and raising our next generation out of poverty.

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