Hoerskool DF Malan in Bellville is again in the spotlight after the School’s Governing Body (SGB) rejected a request by a group of parents for a referendum regarding the rejection of the school’s name change.
The DF Malan Hoerskool was established in 1951, after the then Prime Minister of South Africa, Daniel Francois Malan.
The democratic government has since started initiatives to address transformation issues, which includes changing the names of institutions and buildings named after propagators of apartheid regime.
The name has been a source of dispute as the school is named after the former apartheid prime minister Daniel François Malan, an individual credited for implementing the system of apartheid, which imposed racial segregation laws on many people of colour within South Africa.
While many are welcoming the name change, a group of parents, pupils, and academics have started a Facebook group titled “Trots DF Malan ” to gather support for the existing name and to ensure that the school is not hijacked by a full-scale transformation agenda.
The Governing Body Foundation (GBF) CEO Anthea Cereseto indicated that schools are part of the society and they should resemble activities and programs by which the society is carried.
Schools are a microcosm of society. Whatever is happening in society happens in schools.
The changing of the name at DF Malan school is a continuation of what has been happening in the country when streets and cities were given new names that are seen to be inclusive and sympathetic to transformation.
Name changes have happened in many parts of the country, and the DF Malan is a public institution which falls under the guidance of basic education, said Cereseto.
Cereseto believes that relevant processes of consultation have been followed and the decision to change the name rests with the minister of basic education.
The name change initiative includes guidelines against names that appear to be derogatory when translated and that names can’t be offensive to any group of people within the society, added the GBF CEO.
Cereseto stated that a school has to be an inclusive place and can’t have divisive names. Names that are associated with apartheid principles are problematic to a large number of people within the society, concluded Cereseto.
GBF CEO confirmed that the changing of the names associated with apartheid principles are a constitutional agenda rather than a leftist agenda, as the protesting group of stakeholders said.