A racist song, allegedly performed by a group of Grade 11 Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupils, went viral on social media, landing the boys in hot water and raising questions about the school’s level of diversity sensitivity.
The recording, believed to have been made in the music room, starts off with a few guitar chords followed by laughter. Then one boy sings: “I feel pain unearthly because I hate k*****s.” Another boy says: “Whoa, dude, that’s rude,” followed by more laughter and words of shock from other boys in the room.
This is followed with: “I’m not actually racist, guys. I’m not racist, bro. I never say that K-word; it’s so mean.”
It did not take long for the recording, shared in a WhatsApp group, to reach principal Shaun Simpson’s office, and he passed it on to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
The Tatler tried repeatedly to contact Mr Simpson for comment, but phone messages left with his personal assistant weren’t returned by the time this edition went to print.
WCED spokesman Paddy Attwell, said the department viewed the incident in a very serious light. Mr Simpson, he said, had kept the department “fully informed and we are confident that the school will deal with the matter appropriately, in line with its code of conduct”.
It is believed two of the pupils were withdrawn from the school by their parents after the recording surfaced, with one parent choosing to let his son face the music at a disciplinary hearing.
“A third boy will face a disciplinary hearing. We cannot speculate on the likely outcome of the hearing. The disciplinary process will take its course,” said Mr Attwell.
There was no need for the WCED to investigate, he said, as the school had been keeping the department fully informed.
“We have to build a society that embraces our rich diversity. Schools have an incredibly important role to play in making this possible. Any act of racism in schools undermines these efforts, and the prospects of building the kind of society we aspire to, based on the values of the constitution,” Mr Attwell said.
The department would continue to support all schools in dealing with diversity issues, he said.
“Our primary role is education. Diversity is an important theme of the life orientation curriculum. We provide additional training and support for teachers and learners in every district,” Mr Attwell said.