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Rastas demand right to education

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By Jameson Chauluka:

FIGHTING FOR THEIR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS—The Rastas captured
Wednesday

Members of Rastafarian community Wednesday stormed Blantyre City Council offices to express their dissatisfaction with the country’s education dress code which outlaws dreadlocks.

Ras Kush Timbenawo, national secretary for the Nyabhingi Order of the Rastas, said Malawi is raising a generation of robbers and dissidents by denying Rastafarian children access to quality education based on their religion and culture.

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“We are saying that our children should go to school. If they are barred from attending school, then we are doomed. That is a death sentence to our religion and culture because we cannot develop in any aspect without education,” he said.

Empress Maggie, who is Nyabhingi Order of Rastafarian publicity secretary, concurred with Timbenawo, calling on the government to start accepting dreadlocked Rastafarian children in public schools.

“There is a danger if our children are denied access to education. In essence, we are raising thugs and robbers. We are fencing ignorance and in the end, people will be saying Rastas are illiterate, when it is not our making,” she said.

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Minister of Education, Bright Msaka, yesterday said the government would address the concerns with the Rastas and not through the media.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide, is on record as having said that it wants learners in public schools to look uniform.

For a long time, Rastas have been fighting what they call discrimination against their children in public schools.

The Rastas quote Section 20 of the Malawi Constitution which denounces discrimination, saying ‘discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are, under any law, guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion or other status.”

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