The suspension of a teacher for racism is “illegal”

South African justice overturned the suspension of a teacher who had photographed a class where black students sat far from their white classmates. The photo sparked an uproar in South Africa, a country still traumatized by apartheid.

The Johannesburg Labour Court ruled that Elana Barkhuizen’s suspension was “illegal” and ordered its cancellation “with immediate effect”.

The teacher is scheduled to report to her workstation in South Africa’s North West Province this Friday, January 25, 2019, the court ordered in her judgment. In the scandalous photo, four black students in a kindergarten class are sitting in a corner far from their white classmates.

It was taken by Elana Barkhuizen at the beginning of the school year in January, but in another classroom than hers, according to the teachers’ union of which she is a member.

Cause of the suspension

He put forward the hypothesis that the children were placed according to their language, and not their race, so that they “feel more comfortable” on this new school day.

“I am very happy, I want to thank all those who supported me… I am happy that justice has been done,” Barkhuizen said after the court ruling.

Twenty-five years after the end of the apartheid regime in 1994, racial tensions remain very acute in South Africa.

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