Action to be taken against teacher combing pupil’s hair on viral video, says Lesufi

24 March 2021 - 13:54 By unathi nkanjeni
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the department is investigating the matter and wants answers. File photo.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the department is investigating the matter and wants answers. File photo.
Image: TimesLIVE

“Appropriate action” will be taken against a teacher who was caught on video roughly combing a pupil’s hair, says Gauteng education MEC  Panyaza Lesufi.

In the video, taken at an undisclosed school, the woman can be seen making a row of boys line up to have their natural hair combed before entering the school gates. In the background, pupils can be heard disagreeing with the teacher’s style of combing.

According to a SABC News report, Lesufi said his department was reviewing a report into the incident and action will be taken depending on the outcome.

Lesufi said the department was investigating the matter and wanted questions answered. “We are not opposed to any form of discipline, but if it involves public humiliation, it needs to be treated carefully,” he said.

“I am going through the report. We want to know whether the parents were involved, what was their response, whether the pupil was warned before and what was the response of the pupil.”

On social media, Lesufi slammed the teacher's act, saying it was “totally unacceptable”. 

“We have many kids absconding from school or committing suicide about small things that happened at school and they become scared to go back to school. It might sound petty but the number of pupils making wrong decisions is massive. I am for discipline, not humiliation,” said Lesufi.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also weighed in on the video and said the act was “child abuse, black self-hate and definitively illegal”.

“This woman must be found and put to the book. You can’t teach kids to hate their hair. No! Her treatment of black hair is the same as that of white racists who tell black kids to remove or hide their Afros,” Ndlozi said.

He said the best thing the teacher could have done was write a letter to the pupil's parents instead of “violently combing” their hair.

“It’s the indignity of standing at school gates, violently combing kids’ hair. Why not write to their parents? Why not ask kids to do it themselves in a private space? In any way, why the hell must they comb? Will it make them more teachable? Why humiliate them because of hair?” he asked.