A South African primary school teacher was suspended on Thursday after a photograph appeared to show black children sitting separately from white children in a classroom, sparking a storm of racism accusations.
According to news reports, the pupils were attending their first day at the Schweizer-Reneke school in North West province, and the teacher had taken a photograph to send to anxious parents.
It rapidly spread on social media as it showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children around a small corner table in the background, Al Jazeera said.
“From the information I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism,” provincial Education Minister Sello Lehari said after visiting the school.
“I will send a team to do an investigation into all schools… to deal with issues of racism in totality,” Lehari said.
Student activist Mcebo Dlamini wrote on social media the “most provoking” aspect of the image “is not that black kids are ostracized from white kids, that is common in our supposedly post-apartheid Africa”, South African news website TimesLIVE reported.
Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with fierce racism-related controversies erupting regularly on social media and in politics, according to Al Jazeera.