Die Vlakte descendants to benefit from Maties bursaries

2015-05-08 18:30
Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University

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Cape Town - Stellenbosch University has created a bursary fund for descendants of those forcibly removed in the 1960s from an area close to the town centre, known as Die Vlakte.

Nearly R350 000 has been earmarked for the bursary and the public can also make contributions, it said in a statement on Friday.

"At this stage it is envisaged that a minimum of five bursaries will be made available per year,” said university spokesperson Martin Viljoen.

“The bursaries will in all probability be made available from 2016 onwards.”

The full criteria for the bursaries had not yet been determined, he said, but it was likely to cover tuition fees at least.

Rector and Vice Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers first announced the bursary at his inauguration last week, saying it was a direct response to student requests.

He said it was also a further sign of redress that the university had committed itself to at the turn of the century.

University management met this week to determine the initial criteria.

Bursaries will be made available to undergraduate students for the normal duration of a degree, up to a maximum of four years.

“Applicants who are no longer living in the Stellenbosch area, but who can give proof of their parents or grandparents being affected by the evictions, will also be considered.”

Community leaders would be asked to form part of a panel considering the applications.

Regarding assimilation of university culture, Viljoen said all new students were required to attend a welcoming programme in their first week on campus.

Students who were the first in their families to study at a university were also invited to an annual “Awêness Camp” to familiarise themselves with all aspects of university life.

Die Vlakte was declared a white group area on September 25 1964 in terms of the Group Areas Act.

“Besides the 3 700 coloured residents, six schools, four churches, a mosque, a cinema and 10 business enterprises were affected by the forced removals that followed,” the university stated.

“As an institution, the University did not protest against the evictions at the time and in general the university authorities went along with the government policy.”

In 2013, the university opened a memory room in one of its buildings as a gesture of reconciliation between it and the town’s coloured community.

It houses a permanent exhibition space depicting the history of people from Die Vlakte, and the Battle of Andringa Street, in which white students attacked coloured residents at Die Vlakte and damaged their residences in 1940.

Read more on:    university of stellenbosch  |  cape town  |  education

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