Support Our Students in Pretoria

When I was in high school, I listened to heavy metal and wanted to grow my hair long. The school rules, however, prevented me for doing so. From my perspective this created a feeling of us and them among my teachers and I. It was in large part because of this that I saw my teachers as part of a system that had failed humanity.

Obviously the situation with the students in Pretoria is different because of South Africa’s history and where the students have come from. Nonetheless, I am sure that the restrictions on their natural hair creates the same sense of us and them. It creates a feeling of oppression rather than support and encouragement which is what we all want from our school. It also creates a sense of division at a time when South African of all colours more than ever need to listen to each other, respect our differences and come together. Therefore, I support and commend the students in Pretoria.

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Troydon Wainwright is a philosopher and Reiki Master based in Cape Town. Born with mild cerebral palsy and dyslexia, Toydon learnt to write as a way to overcome the barriers his dyslexia placed in front of him. “I wrote my way out of dyslexia,” said Troydon, “or at least to the point where reading and writing aren’t a problem anymore.” During the day he works as an educational facilitator (someone who helps special needs students cope academically and become more independent). At night he dedicates his time to writing. He has won a Nova award for his short story, The Sangoma’s Storm, and been a feature poet at the Off the Wall poetry readings in Cape Town and at Cape Town Central Library. Three of his poems were also included in the anthology Africa’s Best New Poets. He has also been published in the South African Literary journal, New Contrast. One of his Facebook posts, in which he took a stand against racism, has gone viral (

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