Pupil can wear sangoma beads in class - if she covers them up

A sangoma burns impepho, an indigenous plant used by traditional healers. A grade 10 pupil has been allowed to continue with her calling as a sangoma but may not draw attention to it in any way while at school. File photo.
A sangoma burns impepho, an indigenous plant used by traditional healers. A grade 10 pupil has been allowed to continue with her calling as a sangoma but may not draw attention to it in any way while at school. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

Gauteng's education department on Friday confirmed being aware of allegations that a pupil at Sunward Park High School in Ekurhuleni had been labelled a demon by some teachers and ordered to remove her sangoma beads.

The grade 10 pupil underwent the ukuthwasa initiation process in 2018. 

Departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona said it had been decided at a meeting with the pupil, her parents and school officials that she may wear the beads if she covered them with a long-sleeved shirt.

"This is done so that it does not attract attention from other learners or educators who  may not subscribe to her calling as a traditional healer," Mabona said.

"The learner may not practise, promote or advertise her status as a traditional healer/sangoma at the school."

On Tuesday, The Star reported that Bongiwe "Lwandle" Ngobese, 15, was allegedly called “a demon” by some teachers. 

The department gave no indication whether action would be taken against the teachers.


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