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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Education department supports school, says sangoma pupil must cover beads

Sibongile Mashaba 

The Gauteng Department of Education is not investigating the violation of the Constitutional rights of the Sunward Park High School learner who is also a sangoma.

If anything, the department says that the measures put in place by the school are that the learner may wear her beads, but she must cover them up.

“According to the information at our disposal, a meeting was held at the school with the parents of the learner and measures were put in place in relation to the learner’s calling.

“The learner may wear her traditional beads, but she must keep them covered with a long-sleeved shirt.

“This is so that it does not attract attention from other learners or educators who may not subscribe to her calling,” said the department’s spokesperson, Steve Mabona.

On Tuesday, The Star reported that Bongiwe “Lwandle” Ngobese, 15, was allegedly called “a demon” by educators at the school for wearing her traditional beads and bracelets.

In the scorching heat, she is forced to wear a jersey to school to cover up the beads.

Mabona said: “The learner may not practice, promote or advertise her status as a traditional healer/sangoma at the school.”

Bongiwe underwent the initiation process in 2018 and missed out on schooling. She is in Grade 10 and wants to become a lawyer when she finishes school.

In an interview with The Star this week, Bongiwe said: “I love everything about my life and would not change a thing. I love being a sangoma and I enjoy it. My family supports me. My schoolmates know about it. I just have a problem with a few teachers who are discriminating against me wearing my traditional beads.”

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