Principle is to be responsible

The strange goings-on at the academy for girls founded by American talkshow celebrity Oprah Winfrey are now public knowledge. Though the full picture will still emerge at the forthcoming court hearings.

The strange goings-on at the academy for girls founded by American talkshow celebrity Oprah Winfrey are now public knowledge. Though the full picture will still emerge at the forthcoming court hearings.

However, Winfrey must be commended for her swift action in not only containing the damage caused by the embarrassing episode but also for the candid manner in which she handled the scandal.

She apologised for the horrible ordeal suffered by some pupils at the school she founded. Winfrey was not present when the abuse took place but as a leader and the ultimate head of the school, she took responsibility for the actions of her staff.

Not so the actual principal of the school, Dr Nomvuyo Nzamane, who, in her first statement, claims she was wrongly perceived as having allowed the abuse to continue.

That is not the crux of the matter. A leader takes responsibility for whatever happens during her watch. She does not wipe her hands of the matter. That is the action of a Pontius Pilate.

A principal is responsible for the teachers and staff under her care. She instils discipline and ensures that she runs a tight-ship with happy people.

Perhaps she failed to realise that something was wrong. Perhaps she was not a hands-on principal who patrolled her corridors.

But the buck stops with her. Nzamane's claim to be a victim is therefore hollow.

X