Cape Town school blasted for controversial ‘slave trade’ assignment

You can misread the room, but in this instance, a teacher from a Cape Town school has managed to overlook the whole building. There has been an uproar on social media, after images of a Grade 7 assignment were shared online, asking learners to create an advert for a ‘slave auction‘ set to take place in 1835.

Children asked to design “slave trade” posters in Cape Town

The incredibly ill-judged task gives pupils half-an-hour to use the knowledge of what they’ve learned about the slave trade, and use it to come up with their own poster or design for an ‘upcoming’ event. With or without the current discourse on racism in society, this idea was offensive and crass right from the word go.

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A slide from the now-infamous ‘slave trade’ assignment – Photo: Facebook

Education Department set to act

Parklands College has taken responsibility for the incident, accepting that there was an ‘unacceptable error of judgment’. Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for the Department of Basic Education has also taken note of the classroom assignment, confirming that the ministry would look further into the matter.

Parklands College apologise for ‘slave trade’ task

Left with no alternative, senior representatives of Parklands College issued an apology statement this week. They also revealed that the teacher at the centre of this storm will be told to undergo racial sensitivity training before returning to the classroom as an educator again. Sylvia Steyn, the faculty principal, stated:

“We acknowledge that this assignment was unacceptable and there was a serious error of judgment. We further acknowledge that the response and outcry towards the slavery issue has been justified. As a school, we need to investigate our curriculum and acknowledge the sentiments expressed by Black Lives Matter.”

“The teacher will be required to undergo re-education on equality, diversity, and inclusion before returning to the classroom. We acknowledge that what happened must never be allowed to happen again.”

Sylvia Steyn

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