THE PEOPLE OF COLOUR FORUM

THE PEOPLE OF COLOUR FORUM

THE PEOPLE OF COLOUR FORUM

The People of Colour Forum, arguably the most controversial initiative at Westerford of late, rose out of a simple need … a need that for so long has been overlooked and overshadowed by the many other facets of Westerford culture. A need that was this year recognised and addressed by the pupils of colour: the need for their own safe space.Established this year, it was created because pupils of colour did not feel comfortable freely expressing their views in the overwhelming presence of their white peers, and consequently, change that benefited all groups could not occur. The forum thus seeks to eliminate the barrier by creating a safe space where no such influences exist. The space seeks to provide a reprieve for the pupils of colour from the white nature of Westerford society, allowing them to express themselves freely.

Within the forum exists a nature of learning through discussions, analysis and interactive talks by outside speakers on societal, political and psychological aspects of being a person of colour. Through this learning, ideas and beliefs that are detrimental - like the inferiority complex many people of colour possess - are destroyed and in its place a strong individual is created, rooted in pride and identity. The forum is also a channel whereby any discomfort experienced by pupils of colour as a result of School policy or the conduct of authority figures and pupils can be appropriately addressed.  The forums’ existence is a challenge to the years of tradition that speak of a subdued pupil of colour body. This forum - whilst being primarily a safe space for students of colour - aims to extend into the broader Westerford community, becoming a vital vehicle of radical change and progress. The change envisioned in the future is that of a pupil and staff body aware of, and knowledgeable about negative constructs within society, and actively trying to dismantle them.

The People of Colour Forum, although young is a pioneer for effective progress.  It will bring a lasting change to Westerford society. A change in mind-sets, beliefs and decisions taken by individuals. A change that will benefit both the pupil and Westerford, and ultimately ... a change that will benefit South African society.

Linah Jokazi