The Malawi Nyabinghi Council says Rastafarian children are being denied access to education as they are being sent home from public schools because of their religion.
Speaking to Malawi24, Nyabinghi council of Malawi publicity secretary Ras Patrick Galawanda said this week alone three children, including two from the same family, have been sent home from school because of negative perceptions against wearing the dreadlocks.
He said the students include Faith Chikopa who is a form 3 student at Mloza Secondary School as well as Ganizani Maxwell and Chipiliro Maxwell who were denied access to education at Kuchisiyo primary school.
Asked if the government was committed to the idea of allowing them in the public schools, Galawanda said: “For the past year we have been engaging the former principal secretary in the ministry of education, Mr Justin Saidi who referred the matter to Public Affairs Committee PAC. Now because the government has changed PAC has also changed tune as if they don’t know anything about it,” he said.
Galawanda continued that education is one of the most basic human rights and everyone deserves to access it.
“Tonse government must strive to give education to youth at all cost. As a county we must priorities access to education and provide the necessary support to those in need. Education enables people to think and act for themselves, it ensures people are not manipulated anyhow,” he said.
Rastafarianism is a religious movement which has distinctive code of behavior and dress including wearing of dreadlocks, rejection of western medicine and adherence to a diet which excludes meat and milk.
In January this year, the Court in Malawi ruled THAT all public schools should allow students with dreadlocks.