The publicized struggle amid learners and educators at Pretoria and San Souci Girls High School has echoed nationwide. Though the issues fixated on prejudice it was brought to light by a bias on hair.
The raw emotive outpouring across media platforms verified that our society is deeply divided and working at cross-purposes to engendering wisdom and reconciliation. Sadly, in my sojourns abroad I noted that few communities even know that we exist or in truth care what problems we withstand.
Ultimately it is entirely in our best interests to resolve our problems in a prompt, skilled, long term and mature manner that does not create acrimony. This requires a rational, educated and a strategic approach to conflict resolution. Since South Africa is historically a politicized battle ground which seethes with racial and fiscal inequity, reputable civil society groups must play a more meaningful role. This does not imply that politicians have no role in the resolution program. However, since most politicians are sadly, driven by narrow interests, their involvement usually prompts suspicion.
Notably, within a global context, to which we are not immune, ignorance and malice plays an acute role in creating conflict. Often, all it takes is for one racist or spiteful educator to malign a learning institution that has delivered quality learning for decades. Also, we must not underestimate the power of stupidity. Since some people are fixated with themselves, they are unable to discern their individual reality from the perspective of another, whom they may work with or engage regularly.
Example, educators who insist, afro hair must be other than an afro, do not grasp the reality, cost and effort to manage this hair type. On the flip side the youth with the huge afro who led the protest at Pretoria Girls High School must be informed that if she must wear her hair that big, she must sit at the back of the class as learners cannot see the board in front, over her afro.
According to Abrahamic epistemology, the God of Abraham foresaw our human frailties and small mindedness. In the Bible, Corinthians 11:6 women who do not cover their hair are considered a disgrace. This message also flows thru both orthodox Islam and Judaism jurisprudence.
My intent is obviously not to advocate for hijab, but merely to suggest that many answers to our human frailties can be resolved with an accurate understanding of the Torah, Bible and Quran. Ironically it is we, humans who reject this divine advice or seek to bent it towards our desires. When more difficult problems arise we cannot manage as we ignored the divine advice to begin with.
While millions experience hunger and joblessness the middle and upper class of society fight over hairstyles and egotistical issues. If our leadership and those who “have” cannot liberate themselves from their spiteful egos, what hope is there for the poor who is reliant on such leadership.
It is little wonder that our nation is flooded with illegal economic migrants, international crime syndicates and so on. They have obviously realized how ignorant and gullible many of us behave.
In the words of the wise, the God of Abraham will not change the condition of a people (community) until they change that maliciousness that exists within their own individual soul.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress