A South African school has been ordered to suspend alleged racist regulations after black pupils said they had been called monkeys by teachers for wearing banned ‘afros’.

Local education authorities in Gauteng province gave Pretoria High School for Girls 21 days to re-assess its rules after protests by students triggered a public dispute over alleged racism.

Speaking on Africanews’ flagship programme,The Morning Call, Gauteng’s Department of Basic Education spokesperson, Oupa Bodibe said the protests were not just about hair.

”The girls are generally complaining that they have been ill treated, that the school does not accommodate how they look and are calling for the policy to change. Although the issue represents matters of hairstyles, it is really about racial discrimination, victimization and abuse. They have been listing a lot of cases where they have either been victimized or abused by teachers or white learners”.

The department of education has been meeting with parents, students and school authorities to resolve the issue.

”As it is the MEC would like the code of conduct to be reviewed, but to also make sure that the educators are sensitive when they deal with learners and these matters. because the learners were saying they were being called names such as baboons or names like ‘you look like you have a nest on your head, those kind of things”, Oupa Bodibe added.

The prestigious school in Pretoria was historically attended by whites only but admitted black students following the end of apartheid in 1994.