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‘Spud’ school in race row over slur aimed at St John’s hockey player

28 May 2022 - 11:35 By TImesLIVE
The movie ‘Spud’ was filmed at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal. It starred Australian Troye Sivan in the title role, with the Crazy Eight gang in the background.
The movie ‘Spud’ was filmed at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal. It starred Australian Troye Sivan in the title role, with the Crazy Eight gang in the background.
Image: NuMetro

Two of SA's top private schools scrapped their annual derby day on Saturday after allegations of a racist slur during a hockey match.

Rugby and hockey matches between Michaelhouse in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and St John's College in Johannesburg were cancelled.

A letter to parents from the school principals said the Michaelhouse boy alleged to have uttered the slur had been suspended as a precaution pending a formal disciplinary hearing.

The slur came during a first-team hockey match on Friday evening at Michaelhouse — used as the set for the movie Spud — said Michaelhouse rector Antony Clark and St John's executive headmaster Stuart West.

Their letter said: “Both Michaelhouse and St John’s are united in condemning all forms of racism and discriminatory behaviour.

“In these circumstances, the heads of both schools have agreed that it is not appropriate for the other hockey and rugby matches planned for today, Saturday May 28, to take place and we have cancelled our fixtures.

“The schools have been and remain committed to working together to ensure their students affirm and respect the dignity of all people.”

Instead of playing their fixtures, St John's boys were on buses back to Johannesburg on Saturday.

Last Saturday, two of Cape Town's top boys' schools featured in another sporting row when Bishops pupils threw R2 coins at Wynberg supporters after losing a first-team rugby match.

Bishops headmaster Tony Reeler said the incident was not in line with the school's values. “There is an internal investigation and those we identify as being responsible for this incident will be dealt with.

“This is not representative of most of the boys, staff, parents or old boys of our school. The small number of pupils responsible for this incident have embarrassed our broader school community.

“We sincerely apologise to everyone at Wynberg Boys High, with whom we have a long-standing and respectful relationship.”

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