Pupils discuss power and privilege

The inclusivity summit held at the Good Hope Seminary High School on Saturday May 4.

People in power get to write history. This was heard at Good Hope Seminary High School’s inclusivity summit on Saturday May 4.

The inclusivity summit, held every term at the school, aims to tackle pertinent issues such as race, sexual orientation, gender, mass hyper-masculinity, albinism, and spatial injustices within the city.

At this term’s inclusivity summit, pupils from the City Bowl schools and across the peninsula tackled the issue of power, privilege and social justice.

Head of Education at the District Six Museum, Mandy Sanger, facilitated the summit, teaching young people how power and privilege get to be maintained by those benefiting.

Ms Sanger said it was vital to engage on such issues with young people because they will inherit this country.

“If the young people from formerly disadvantaged communities who are now in Model C schools don’t find a way to communicate with people in working-class communities, then the future is going to be diminished because they then become the new force that excludes others,” she said.

She said it’s important that young people across all religions, races, language groups, classes and gender begin to see the power that they have through ideas by re-imagining themselves.

Ms Sanger said we only look at each other through the lens of race, but there are other ways we can find to reshape our society.

“They have a lot of power to reshape where the society is going. It all depends on them whether they want to be greedy and not share the wealth, whether they want to continue the pattern of excluding others and repeat what the older generation did, they will spoil their own future,” she said.

She told the young minds that people in power didn’t always rule through force.

“They would take people and make them chosen and better slaves, where people had more benefits than the other slaves.”

She said the government could shape power and privilege.

Pupils learnt to put themselves in other people’s shoes, during group discussions.

They also discussed how history had distributed power and privilege from pre-colonial times into the apartheid era.

Pupils also touched on the institutions and structures that maintained the relation of power and privilege in society and how people have demonstrated their (power and influence) over the years.

Principal Leon Linz said the issues of privilege and power are uncomfortable conversations to have in South Africa and no one wants to talk about them.

He said it was important that young people understand history before we move on.

“For many people such issues evoke pain, and others choose to ignore it and pretend to move forward.

“The beautiful rainbow nation exploded in everyone’s faces. This platform gives us space to find a way forward that is meaningful to everyone,” he said.