‘I was fighting for every black child in this country’: Schoolgirl, 13, becomes heroine of South Africa after REFUSING to tame her afro despite school rules and launching protest
A South African teenager who was threatened with arrest as she led a silent protest against her school’s ‘racist’ hair policy has triggered an online revolution after a video of her swept the internet.
Film of Zulaikha Patel’s calm defiance in the face of three armed security guards, hired by school management to break up her ‘afro’ demonstration, has provoked a massive backlash against the school and a wave of similar protests.
Memes heralding Zulaikha as the new Winnie Mandela – ex-wife of Nelson Mandela who fought against apartheid – and a string of hashtag campaigns have sprung up in support of the 13 year-old, who now looks set to inspire a change in the law.
This picture of Zulaikha Patel has gone viral after she decided to take a stand after being repeatedly disciplined for her hair by teachers at Pretoria Girls High School
Although the slight teenager has become the reluctant face of the rebellion at the school, which was a strictly whites-only institution under apartheid, her parents believe at 13, she is too young to give interviews directly to the media.
Zulaikha released only a brief statement saying ‘In my mind, I was prepared for this. I was fighting for every black child in this country. It’s time our cries are heard.’