October 21st, 2012 10:17 EST
Diverse Faith Followers Demand Probe into Racist Incidents in South African Schools
In view of the reported incidents of racism in Boksburg (Gauteng) school, Hindus-Jews-Buddhists have asked for nationwide investigation into the prevalence of racism in South Africa schools.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer, prominent Jewish leader in western USA; and Reverend Jikai` Phil Bryan, well known Buddhist leader in Nevada (USA); in a joint statement in Nevada today, said that it was highly disturbing and unacceptable that innocent, primary schoolchildren had to go through such racist nightmare, including verbal abuse and discrimination, just for wearing traditional Hindu red string around their wrists as reported in Boksburg.
According to reports, one grade-three student faced racial and derogatory slurs for the last three years (it started when he was in grade one) from the teacher in front of classmates for wearing the religious string and was asked to remove it. When complained, he was told to hide the red string with a jersey. Several other parents have since come out with similar allegations.
Hinduism was oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought. Why should we hide our sacred red threads and other symbols as we were proud of our heritage, traditions and religion? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed.
Rajan Zed, Rabbi Beyer and Rev. Bryan pointed out that South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Paula Mokonyane should come out openly and strongly against this racist episode and make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future.
Zed, ElizaBeth Beyer and Phil Bryan further said that although the suffering which these tender-aged children and their families endured would be difficult to properly redress, the affected families should be paid adequate compensation for the irreparable damage. Action should be taken against the teachers who committed the abuse and their superiors who protected them and let it happen.
Hindus, who have been in South Africa since 1700s, had made great contributions to the success of South Africa. "How long do you think we would stay as `coolies` in the racist mindset," Rajan Zed asked. Community should be assured that Hindu children did not go through such a racist nightmare in any of South Africa schools in the times to come, Zed stated.
Boksburg, where gold was discovered in 1887, forms part of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality with Mondli Gungubele as the Mayor. Boksburg is home to Boksburg Lake and East Rand Mall and figure skater Konrad Giering was born here.
Hindus form a considerable part of South Africa population; elaborate Diwali festivals are held in Johannesburg and Cape Town every year; and there are Hindu temples and ashrams in Johannesburg, Durban, etc.