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The Cost of Discrimination: Khoeli Pholosi

June 3, 2016
Cost of Discrimination
2 min read
The Cost of Discrimination: Khoeli Pholosi
The Cost of Discrimination: Khoeli Pholosi



Iranian Baha'is are denied access to higher education. Not A Crime's The Cost of Discrimination video series tells the stories of another country — South Africa, which barred "non-whites" from educational opportunities equal to those for "whites" during apartheid — to connect that history to the current persecution of the Baha'is in Iran.

Khoeli Pholosi grew up in Soweto. He never completed his high school education because he joined the Pan African Congress and became focused on political activities.

As Pholosi explains, in 1956, South Africa introduced Bantu education for black people. “It was supposed to be an education which made sure Africans could only reach a certain level,” he says. His political activities were in part a revolt against the situation black South Africans found themselves in. During this time, he was arrested and imprisoned on Robben Island for three years. Upon his release, finding a job was impossible, as the government blacklisted him.

He then attended a training college and became a certified teacher after two years, and then Deputy Principal at a school. After just one year of work, the government made sure he was fired. Soon after, a friend hired him to work at a US-based advertising company. But soon, the government imprisoned him again and held him in solitary confinement for six months.

When he was released, his friends and family, sick with worry, made sure he left South Africa for Lesotho. In Lesotho, he worked as a journalist. “Africa was in turmoil at the time, with countries gaining independence. The youth hoped their new leaders would pull them out of inequality and poverty.” For him, fueling liberation took priority over his education. The paper he worked for in Lesotho allowed him to write freely and express his ideas. “I could write about corruption and inequality —  but the paper was later banned.”

Throughout his life, Pholosi has found joy as an activist, and through teaching people the policies of the Pan African Congress and of great African leaders. “I believe the people who ruled this system of apartheid didn't know what they were doing. I am willing to forgive.”


Watch: Peter Mputle

Read more about The Cost of Discrimination video series.