Racist hair rules at Pretoria Girls High School are suspended pending an investigation, according to BBC World News.
“There will be no learner that will be victimized purely because of their hairstyle until the School Governing Body have finalized a new code of conduct that deals specifically with this issue,” said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi in an article for Eye Witness News.
Over the weekend, girls at Pretoria High School gained national attention posting testimonials, photos and videos of their protest. #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh trended as girls as young as 13 dared to take a stand.
The victory in Pretoria is a victory not only for girls in South Africa, but for every black person, because the policing of black hair is never just about hair. It’s a whitewashing of blackness in professional and educational environments. Policing our hair is a type of racism that hides in company handbooks and school codes of conduct.
Vanessa VanDyke, Ashley Davis and Jessica Sims are just a few of the black women and girls who made headlines over the past few years who faced suspension or being fired over their natural hair in the U.S. The problem is widespread and systemic, and a threat to black women and girls anywhere. These black students in South Africa remind us to keep going as we continue to navigate spaces where our full identities are not welcome.
We can look to the victory at Pretoria Girls High as inspiration to continue disrupting spaces until we are accepted, fully and completely, baby hair and afros and all.
Have you ever faced a similar situation regarding your natural hair? What did you do? Share in the comments below!