Rastafarians call for equality in Malawi schools
By Godfrey Olukya 26-9-2012
Rastafarians in Malawi have called upon the government to ensure that their
children who are at times also Rastafarian with dread locks are treated like the other children without abuse or discrimination.
This follows a school, called Makapwa Primary School in Thyolo district sending away three dread locked children.
A group of dread locked Rastafarian parents on learning that their children had been sent away, stormed the school to find out from the head teacher why their children were being denied classes.
One of the teachers at the school, Helen Chilwa said, ‘When the angry Rastafarians stormed the school, the pupils fled in all directions. Some spread rumors that blood suckers had invaded the school.’
Some people living near the school armed themselves with sticks and machetes and moved to the school to save the children after getting the rumor of blood suckers being in the school. They were however amused when they realized that those at school were mere Rastafarians.
The students sent away by the school are Miriam, a 13 year Standard eight pupil, George, 11, who is in standard six and Fadweck, an eight year old boy in standard three.
The school’s headmaster, Enos Chimberenga, said that he acted on ministry of education instructions and was following government policies.
He said,’When the children came in dreadlocks at the school I consulted some of my bosses who instructed me to send them back.’.
The National Publicity Secretary for the Rastafarian Community, Ras Jah Vision said what the school did was unfair. ‘Our children are being denied the right to education due to their belief.’ he said.
The spokesperson for Ministry of Education, Lindiwe Chide said that the school administration did not break the law by sending away the students. He said that schools follow guidelines which aim to encourage uniformity among pupils.