Tag Archives: south africa

racism in the classroom






South African Girls Protest “Pandering to Whiteness”

Pretoria High School for Girls tells African girls to chemically straighten their hair in the interest of tidiness. In August 2016 some girls refused to “conform to western ways” and more than 4,500 signed a petition to end racist practices and stop “pandering to whiteness.” #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh trended on social media. South African students also not allowed to speak their tribal languages, although German and Spanish students can speak their languages.

A Poem by a South African Girl, Grade 11, “Dear Sister”

Dear Sister


Grade 11

Nkomazi, South Africa


Dear sister

Can you hear me?

As I break down and cry because

You no longer are with me.

I remember when we used to

Talk until the lights went out

Laying on our backs on my old bed

Where we would brag and talk about

Every neighbourhood issue that had

To do with love, boys and fashion

You had my eyes and I had your hair.


You were always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on

I was never there when you needed

Me the most…that I know

I can’t even hold back my tears for long

Because my heart is now tired of feeling guilty

And my inner voice just argues that you were

Wrong and I was wrong too.

I still look at those little ballerina shoes that

You used to dance around and twirl with

Before your classes each day.

The closet next to mine still has your beautiful

Scent roaming around and I sometimes stare at it

For a while…

Hoping for one thing…one thing that I can’t

Possibly have…that thing is you.


Dear sister as I write

My heart is no longer with me anymore

And I decided to use pen and paper

To reveal to you how much my heart is broken

And I tried using words to say this

But I guess you’ll understand better

When I write it down…


When you left me

You took away the most important gifts of all

And without you my smile no longer

Resided on my entire being.

When you said goodbye without telling me

I felt my shoes became so heavy the gap

Still remains.

Next to me, as I lie on my bed

I can feel you lying still with your eyes closed

I remember how beautiful you were

When you closed your eyes for a night rest…

The only thing that you managed to leave

Behind was a yellow note

With the words “I am sorry sister”

And you left

As if the words were going to tell me

Where you’ve gone

As if they were going to replace your place in my heart.


Dear sister

It’s hard accepting that you are gone

Because my heart just declines the thought

Of not seeing your glowing eyes as they

Shine like that was their only function.


So sister tell me

When are you coming back?

Coming back for me…

Just tell me how many rivers and oceans

Do I have to cross in order to reach you?

How many more times are you going to keep silent?

How many miles do I have to walk

For me to reach your destination

At least sister

Meet me halfway

Maybe try writing back…

Dear sister

Write back

And come back…home.