JONATHAN JANSEN: Faith hierarchies have no place in a democracy
On May 27 2019 De Waveren Primary School in Ruyterwacht, in Cape Town, sent out a letter to parents that should have sent shockwaves down the spines of anyone who embraces the terms of our young democracy.
The principal announced that “due to the fact that the majority of the school’s learners are of the Christian faith, we will be closed on the 30th of May 2019 for Ascension Day”.
The announcement fell a few days short of April Fool’s Day, so I knew this was no joke. Then, to add unchristian spite to an unlawful act, the letter continued with this unbelievable sentence: “we also respect the Muslim faith and understand that Eid is on the 5th of June. We suggest that the learners attend the exams at 9:00 and then leave to celebrate after completing the paper if it is at all possible.”
In other words, Christian pupils can take a Christian holiday that does not exist on the school calendar but Muslim pupils, on one of their most sacred days, must show up and write an examination, after which they might go and celebrate Eid.