Racism the norm for black Maties students - Luister filmmakers

2015-09-03 17:47
Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

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WATCH: #RhodesMustFall made Luister filmmakers realise how little had changed at Stellenbosch

2015-09-03 13:17

The makers of Luister are all University of Cape Town students. They say the Rhodes Must Fall Movement opened their eyes to the transformation needed at Stellenbosch University.WATCH

Johannesburg - Black students at Stellenbosch University talked about being victims of racism as though such experiences had become normal to them, said the filmmakers behind the documentary Luister (Listen).

"It was sort of like it was an afterthought for them, it had become normalised," Declan Manca said on Thursday.

Manca and three fellow University of Cape Town students, who are all white, had initially intended to ask black students at the university what they thought of the dual English and Afrikaans language policy.

They also wanted to interview students at the Elsenburg Agricultural College on the same matter. Elsenburg, also in Stellenbosch, falls under the Department of Agriculture.

But when students were asked if they had ever felt alienated at the institution, stories of discrimination began pouring out.

In the 34-minute film, one lecturer and 32 students tell their stories of what it is like to be black on largely white, Afrikaans-speaking campuses. The six hours of interviews were "emotionally devastating", said Manca.

Editing the footage meant watching it repeatedly. It took between 60 and 100 hours, and he became numb to the emotional impact of the stories, he said.

"And we didn't even have that much confidence in the film when we released it. We had become so numb to it we thought, like, is this any good? Is this shocking at all?

"I think that's what happens when you live in a place like that, obviously on a much grander scale, where you're surrounded by these incidents all the time," he said. Manca went on to say that because students were "immersed in it", it became "normalised".

Fellow filmmaker Erik Mulder explained the reason behind the film’s title.

"They knew these stories, they've been telling these stories over and over again to people, but no one was listening."

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  education

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