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Former Sans Souci learner speaks out - #Blackhairmatters

A few years ago I was at a particular school situated in Newlands Cape Town. At this school I partook in swimming which occurred every second day. This then resulted in me wetting my hair in between the two days as I would swim the next day again and my hair would get wet, so why wash it. Let me also say that my hair is very different to that of others and somehow it refuses to curl (As seen in the picture). So when wet it stands straight up almost as if I attempted to make spikes. This occurs when my hair is dry too, however it is completely natural and not intended by me at all. Many of my teachers at the time quite liked this hairstyle and one even wanted to try it out herself.
One day I was walking in the corridor on my way to class, when the principal of this school started walking towards me. Thinking that she was just walking past I looked up and politely greeted her, thinking that we would both be on our way and go to our various destinations. However this was not the principals intention. She then came up to me and started pulling at my hair, asking me whether I was wearing a wig or not. I then just looked at her, moved away and politely told her no and that my hair just naturally stood up like that. She then told me that the hairstyle was too "exotic" and that "something" had to be done about it, as this was not allowed at school.
The next day as I was walking up the stairs at a different part of the school, another teacher then approached me, also telling me about my "exotic" hairstyle and how I had to do "something" about it. After explaining to her that my hair was just naturally like that, she then told me that I had to gel it flat.
Later that same day I was called down to the office by the deputy principal who also spoke to me regarding my "exotic" hair I was then told once again that "something" had to be done about it. She then also went on to tell me that she would be checking my hair everyday to make sure that it wasn't "exotic".
That day I then went home and had to blow my hair out, sleep with a bandana as well as a beanie, then after I had woken up, attempt to flatten it again, with the help of my mother blowing it, then put a mixture of styling gel and putty as well as my bandana and beanie back on just so that it would stay flat. Once I arrived at school and the school day had started the deputy principal then appeared at my classroom door and I was called outside, where she inspected my hair. This then occurred every morning until the end of the year.
This is but one of the many experiences that I experienced at this particular school.At the time when I tried to fight against both these principals no one stood by me as everyone was too afraid of what would happen to them. My mother and I then tried to fight against them until I couldn't anymore as it became detrimental to my health.
I have written this to say that enough is enough and that this racism and victimisation that has been occurring for years must come to an end. So let us all come and stand together and support all our fellow students past or current that are going through the same situation.
Chloe Rezant

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