Doekgate: Keep Calm and Think



Incoming – white male Afrikaner’s opinion! If that’s gonna be a problem, don’t waste your time continuing with the article.

‘Doekgate’ has returned to the South African scene with greater outrage than the previous episode. Now children – small, gullible, impressionable children – are marching at the very front of a quasi-cultural Marxist movement which feeds off of the pretense of offense, but is fully intended to vest more power in the hands of the State.

I won’t concern myself too much with the circumstances of this specific case at Pretoria Girls High School, because that would mean I have to entertain the premise upon which the false outrage is based. Instead, I will provide some general thoughts about how to approach situations such as these.

Do Not Be Distracted

The Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, is potentially facing criminal charges, state-owned enterprises are at risk of capture, and the Communists in the Cabinet may soon find themselves jobless. President Jacob Zuma and the ANC may just have lost a municipal election or two, but that doesn’t mean the wrecking-ball in their arsenal has been somehow deactivated.

As Nicholas Woode-Smith wrote in January:

“It is a common practice among all governments to latch onto, even orchestrate, events to distract the populace from what really matters. We call these Red Herrings. As an example, the Pistorius trial was by no means orchestrated by the state, but it was used to good effect to distract us from corruption and ill-thought out legislation. This row against racism is no different.”

Ladies and gentlemen, actual things are happening in South Africa which warrant your attention. The left has never paid particularly much attention to matters which can throw the economy down the tube, often commenting that when the economy does badly ‘only whites are affected’, so issues like doekgate are a nice pastime for them. However, as decent, responsible, and reasonable people, you should not allow yourselves to be pulled into this trap.

In fact, this is made even worse now that Panyaza Lesufi of the Gauteng Department of Education is being involved. The totalitarian State’s most important order of business is to ensure it gets complete control of the education system. This was done under Apartheid and partially reversed after 1994. But now that hunger for control has returned, and, with the Official Opposition now dangerously close to becoming the government of Gauteng, the central government is seeking to strengthen its hold. Do not be surprised if you see a new bill introduced in Parliament giving full control over all education affairs to the national education portfolio (fortunately, they will need to try and amend the Constitution beforehand).

While matters of attire may be inconvenient or even (sincerely) offensive to the pupils in question, it does not compare with the State impoverishing an entire country or chipping away at your freedom. Do not be distracted by the Oppression Olympics or red herrings. Keep your eyes trained firmly on what the State and the political class are doing in the background.

The Nature of the School Matters

The doekgate outrage does not appear to be well thought-out. I have not seen anyone point out the fact that Pretoria Girls High is a public school, so it appears that the left, again, believes that even private schools should be barred from enforcing their own rules and standards.

People who have known me for a while would be able to attest that I am not a ‘social conservative’ by any means. I have always opposed public schools having the gall to tell me or anyone else how we must dress, how long our hair must be, and whether or not we may have stubble or beards. I mean, the moment I bought that first lollipop on my own at age 5, I paid value-added (sales) tax and became a fully-fledged South African taxpayer. How can these civil servants – public school teachers – presume to tell me how long my hair may, or may not, be? It is statist arrogance at its worst.

This applies equally to Pretoria Girls High. Yes, the black female students should be allowed to wear their hair how they want! But, as I will explain under the next heading, this is not a racial affair.

This, however, obviously means I feel the direct opposite way about private schools. Private institutions owe nothing to nobody, unless by contract. They do not need to tolerate, like, or respect your culture, your belief, your style, or your preferences on their property. On their property, they are the alpha and omega. I did attend a private school for many years, and to say the least, I disagreed with their institutional culture in a very fundamental, ideological way. But looking back, I understand that they didn’t owe me anything other than what was stipulated in our contract.

Next time anything of note happens, be sure to ask ‘is this private or public property?’ before you get outraged. Leftists would call this a false dichotomy, or say ‘the lines between these kinds of property are blurred’. Rest assured, they are not.

It’s About Authoritarianism, not ‘Whiteness’

As I stated above, I am no friend of assumed hierarchies or structures of authority. As far as libertarians go, I do lean toward ‘social anarchy’. The antiquated obsession with ‘discipline’ has run its course. Rather, explain in particular circumstances why a brand of discipline is needed. At school, the institutionalized culture of authoritarianism is accepted without much ado. This, indeed, needs to change.

But South Africans – trendy tyrant leftist South Africans – need to stop confusing authoritarianism with ‘whiteness’. There is nothing inherently racist about applying a rule equally to everyone, even if you believe that the rule itself is ‘based in white normality’. Culture, including how you wear your hair and what kind of head gear (yes, yes I did just call it head gear!) is a completely voluntary affair. If you alleged that it is not voluntary, then the protest must not be held outside Pretoria Girls High, but outside the homes of the parents who are forcing their children to act or behave in a particular fashion.

Objectively, however, without allowing isolated circumstances to dictate the rule, culture is voluntary, and, quite in fact, can be switched on and off for particular occasions. For instance, I don’t believe Robert, the Lord of Salisbury, goes to the United Nations or to Singaporean hospitals in his traditional Shona dress, to give but one example. So these pupils are entirely at liberty to either adhere to the rules or to consciously disobey them. There is no reality wherein they have no choice.

Of course, this is a public school, and thus I am quite happy to condone rule breaking. But viewed within this context, what should be condemned is our collective South African culture of authoritarianism. This culture exists in the Model C school, the township school, the Afrikaner dorp, the Zulu village, and the English suburb. This culture was here before the Dutch landed and was simply further reinforced by the Dutch’s own authoritarian ways.

Individuals of all races are forced to behave in certain ways at South African schools. It isn’t ‘easier’ or ‘more normal’ for whites because, like all young persons, white kids despise being told what to do. They need to get their hair cut, just like the black kids.

The reaction to the episode at Pretoria Girls High has been thoroughly irrational and plays into the waiting hands of the political class. The State and its intellectuals love outrage. New legislation, new government departments, and new government powers are always preceded by outrage. Our outrage should be directed at the State and its buddies, not at pie-in-the-sky notions of ‘whiteness’ and ‘who is being oppressed the worst?’

Statist authoritarianism lies at the heart of every conceivable South African problem we have today. Mischaracterizing the cause of our social ills will only prolong, and, unfortunately, worsen the suffering.


  1. The abandonment of discipline advocated by you helps to explain why South African public schools, and American inner city public schools, perform so well academically. Lol.

    I didn’t want to be a military conscript, forced to kill blacks for the sake of apartheid. Still I went to the army, and it was an education. Up to then I’d never made my own bed in my life, apart from camping trips that is. I’d never cleaned my own room, done my own laundry and ironed it, or taken responsibility for myself in any way whatsoever. I was made very aware that if I transgressed, I would face consequences.

    This lack of consequences is at the root of everything wrong with society today.

    • The welfare state and cultural Marxism were both created in times when strict ‘discipline’ was enforced at educational institutions, but also at home. ‘Discipline’ in the air and for its own sake is a thoroughly useless ‘skill’ which has scant produced the results it was intended for.

    • I started making my bed because it was unmade and I figured out that made beds were nicer. Didn’t need anyone shouting at me to change.

      If someone doesn’t want something, let them not have it. Self-discipline arises from incentive and advice, not from force. All that arises from that is resentment and a waste of productivity.

  2. It is a politically incensed protest with ‘sissies’ in the front. Some people you recognize by their problem. As far as i know “Pretoria Girls high’ is a good school so every pupil being there should be thankful for being able to learn there. If she or their parents dislike the rules they should look after another school. I am a very ill disciplined guy therefore I KNOW the need for strict discipline. it really helps to come on your own feet and start being productive. And rules are rules, rules about hair style may be petty but if you see how lowly, aesthetically lowly some people “self realize’ themselves beyond any rules we should be glad to have rules also on the small things. Relegate the protesters and please go on .with rules and strict learning … after some years they will all be thankful. Nobody needs spoiled brats.

    • I guess Black girls are being brats when they are fighting for a simple thing as wearing they hair whatever way they please?

          • The article itself is arguing that public schools don’t have a right to instate such petty dress codes. Sitta can explain his point.

          • I understand the article even though i don’t fully agree with it. However I don’t agree with Sitta’s comment when he calls the girls brats when they are protesting for they rights

          • Maybe not brats according to the strict definition of the word, but certainly idiots with a meaningless political agenda, who have lost touch with reality. Seriously, I was in school during and after Apartheid in both public and private schools, and every single person in the entire school was forced to have their hair a certain way. Whether they liked in or not, whether they were black or white, whether they were male or female. And you know what we did? We just sucked it up and moved on, cause at the end of the day it’s just hair. As a country we stand on the brink of the state capture of the treasury, and the certain economic disaster that will follow but these girls seem to think their hair is more important.

          • I would not call it useless because our struggles are different. And u have to remember SA is still going through changes after Apartheid so there will be movements that you feel are useless and ones that you feel are not. Many philosophers like Marx and Hegel have stated that in order for development and change to take place there has to be conflict in society. I totally agree with you William that SA is going through economic crisis but I feel Black people, especially Black women have been oppressed enough. Schools have to change they rules in order to Accomodate everyone.

          • I don’t mind change, but to imply that the RULES on hair cuts is racist is absurd. Maybe some people enforcing them are racist, maybe the rules effect different races differently, but it’s useless because they are protesting racism that isn’t even there. If someone in the school is racist then report them and target the cause of the racism, but don’t tell me that laws that have around for 100 years in most schools around the world, including other African countries, are suddenly racist. It’s beyond insane.

          • I would say that these are a bit racist because they were started during a very racist period by racist individuals. It’s the 21st century, why do we still practice rules that were created by racist people. These rules perpetuate racism because racist people use these rules for they racist agenda. The rules may not be racist to u but a certain race is more likely to be able to accomodate to these rules while another race struggles

          • Driving on the left hand side of the road was also started by these people, who started the rules has no bearing. What needs to be established is whether or not these rules were created with racist intent. It’s not enough to give an opinion, if we cannot factual prove that to be true than we cannot call it racism. The fact that one race struggles to accommodate the rules due to a different hair is reason to change the rules, not to make the assumption that the rules are racist. Maybe there was a racist intent behind the rules, maybe there wasn’t, but the point is we actually don’t know. So let’s just fix the problem, move on, and stop making assumptions…

          • I think we can just agree to disagree, i truly believe these rules are racist because they were developed by racist oeop

          • Zaggeta I think you’re comparing two different things, houses don’t control how people act, think or dress. These rules should change because we live in a democratic country were I should be able to do what i want.

          • Do you agree that to believe something, or to protest and call something racist, that one should have sufficient evidence to do so?

          • I understand that but to tell me that these rules are not racist, you can also give me evidence that supports your argument. The fact that these rules can be used and enforced by racist people should tell u something

          • Houses have a fundamental effect on how people act and feel about themselves.

            And your argument doesn’t follow. I agree that people should generally be able to do what they want, I’m a Libertarian after all. But that doesn’t follow from the rest of your argument. These practices shouldn’t be stopped because they are apparently racist, as you argue, but because they are fundamentally oppressive of individual rights. Don’t need to put a racialist spin on it.

          • I think we are just going to go in circles because we both have different opinions about this topic. But these rules are oppressing individual rights of a certain race more then the other. As i said before we are allowed to have different opinions and I respect yours even though I don’t agree with them. I feel this argument between us is going nowhere so we can just agree to disagree

          • But I’m not arguing either way, I haven’t said that there are definitely not racist, or that they definitely are racist, merely that we don’t and probably never will know. My OPINION is that they were probably just put in place because RSA followed an English schooling program and these rules were common in English schooling. But because I don’t know, I’m not interested in making assumptions either way. Again, just fix the issue and move on.

          • Ok i understand your point but the only reason why I call these rules racist is because they don’t accomodate every race and they Western. And because they oppress individual rights and freedom of a certain race more then the other. But I do understand were u are coming from

  3. ” so it appears that the left, again, believes that even private schools
    should be barred from enforcing their own rules and standards.”
    At want point do you allow a private institution to enforce rules that are anti-constitutional… it would not be permissible for a private school to have a “whites only” rule, just cos the rules are less black and white, it does not make them any less discriminatory.

    • “Incoming – white male Afrikaner’s opinion! If that’s gonna be a problem, don’t waste your time continuing with the article.”

      Right at the top of the article 🙂

      • It wasn’t that it was written by a white male Afrikaner (although awesome way to strawman any criticism to follow – almost as if he knew that the article was substandard).

        It is that it is tone-deaf, all over the place, and completely elides any real issues of racism / discrimination against black pupils by claiming that it’s all about State Authoritarianism.

        I don’t like the song, Johnny-One-Note. Can you play any other tunes?

  4. You are right that this is orchestrated to sway the public’s attention from the issues that really matter. However one must not think that private schools and institutions alike are countries within countries who are exempted from abiding to the constitution. These schools are in South Africa and therefore should repsect South Africans without showing bias. They respect Afrikaaners and their culture more than any other culture in SA.

    The notion always brought forth of saying “if you don’t like it go elsewhere” is reallyon insensitive and unfair. We, the black South Africans, allowed Europeans to cohabit this awesomeon country and adjusted all that we know to on allow this to happen, we didn’t say if you don’t like our terms go elsewhere and the day we do it will be unfair.

    It’s white supremacy with high levels arrogance that can say such things. You know we can’t go anywhere else because institutions of learning and information is still colonised. Let’s be fair to all and not just some. We are very tolerant to the white man after all that was done yet the white man is very insensitive towards his fellow compatriot. This kind of action is what causes outrage now and then.

    Anyway, Privan Gordhan and the jail issue is really depreciating the rand value. But I say it is really an act of the globalist and his or her agenda. I suppose this is a market correction