Saturday, May 28, 2022

Fresh racism claims anger Westwood Principal

Westwood International School Principal Helge Gallinger has reacted angrily to an audio clip that has been circulating recently, in which he allegedly ridiculed President Ian Khama and Batswana. Gallinger also denied as malicious and scandalous accusations in the clip suggesting that he is racist. In the audio clip, purported to have been recorded during a meeting of Westwood International School staff he addressed, Gallinger allegedly states that “an Afrikaner teacher covered for a black teacher who had gone on maternity” asks the labour office to help because “it feels like we are living in apartheid South Africa.”

He allegedly states in the clip that the labour office is failing to address their complaints and the reason is that they “stinks.” (sic) Another statement he makes is that Westwood blacks are blacks for blacks because they are cowards and chickens.” In the audio clip the Principal allegedly states that “Khama wrecked my marriage” and asks his audience to interpret the phrase for themselves.

However when contacted for comments this week, Gallinger charged that, “we reject these malicious and scandalous accusations in the strongest possible terms. The file that was circulated contains audio clips that were manipulated and taken out of context and which contrived to insult and injure the reputation of the Director of the school, the school itself and everyone involved with the school.”

“We have reported this defamatory clip to the Botswana Police Service who will be investigating the matter. If we can identify the creator of the clip we will instigate legal action for defamation and will be seeking substantial damages from the offender(s). The school will also take similar action against any person who repeats these grossly offensive and entirely untrue allegations,” he said. Gallinger added that “as an international school we are enormously proud of the diversity among our students and workforce, and discrimination on the grounds of race or gender is unthinkable to us. Westwood continues, as it has always done, to offer an inclusive, comprehensive and enriching education to all of its students with the full participation of parents and the community.” Staff members who spoke on condition of anonymity insist that Gallinger was responding to an article that once appeared in the Sunday Standard titled “Racism claims rock Westwood International School” published in June this year.

Responding to a Sunday Standard questionnaire, at the time Westwood flatly denied the allegations insisting that “it is entirely incorrect to suggest that there are unqualified teachers working at Westwood international School. In fact every teacher at the school is qualified for the position they hold.”

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