The ANC Youth League in Gauteng commends the bold stand taken by young girls at Pretoria Girls High School against racist practices and teachers who force them to change their natural hair and thereby damaging their scalps and hair follicles. This is under the guise that its neater when straightened. Discrimination based on our African hair textures is racist. South Africa is an African country that was colonised by Europeans. We have many hairstyles and no child should be made to feel less than for choosing to embrace their Africaness and choice of how they keep their hair.

Straight hair is predominantly associated with whiteness, and sadly enjoys higher prestige and is more widely accepted in both professional and school settings. Natural African hair is shamefully stigmatised. This deep seated apartheid-like brainwashing informs a broader societal hair politics discussion. Too much damage has been done to the psyche of the African child.

Self-hating black people, the likes of Johannesburg Mayor Hairman Mashaba, have perpetuated society’s rejection of our African identity. Straightening our hair should be a choice, not a means to make racists find us more palatable.

Mashaba has gone to the extent of immorally enrich himself in the economy around hair products and treatments to straighten hair, which is worth millions today.

This man has a lot to answer for, with his efforts to change black society to become “White Like Him”, a puppet of the likes of Helen Zille and others choosing to ignore that this is Africa.


The brave young girls at Pretoria Girls High have come out in their numbers to unambiguously and unashamedly say they do not want to be “Becky with that good hair”, their natural African hair is their pride.

These learners must not be forced into doing away with that which is them.

For too long have African kids in preciously white-only and white-run schools been subjected to this racist attack, whose primary aim is to continue to encourage self hate amongst black people wanting to make us comply with their whiteness.

We applaud the Gauteng MEC of Education Comrade Panyaza Lesufi as he has urgently dropped his daily business to investigate Pretoria Girls High. We know and trust Comradee Lesufi to protect our learners against these schools and their policies.

The ANCYL together with its Progressive Youth Alliance partner COSAS will be visiting and supporting the girls as they take on this unjust system.

Becky will indeed fall! Straightening our hair, using weaves and other extensions is a choice each individual must make, not have it forced on them by racists. No child shall be forced into mimicking and being forced to be that which they are not.

Issued on behalf of ANC Youth League in Gauteng

Please direct all enquiries to:

Mbali Hlophe
ANCYL GP Spokesperson