News24

Reitz 4 'forgiven and cleansed'

2011-02-26 07:08

Bloemfontein - The so-called Reitz Four video incident at the University of the Free State which led to a national outcry against racism and disrespect for black women is forgiven and cleansed after a reconciliation ceremony on Friday.

Some 300 guests watched as the four former Reitz students publicly expressed a "deep regret" of their conduct and the harm it caused for the workers of the UFS, the university and the broader community of South Africa.

In a statement read on behalf of all the students, Danie Grobler said during the criminal proceedings they publicly stated their regret and apology to the five UFS staff.

"Since April 2008, we have lived through a most horrible period in our lives. We have been rejected by many within our own community and reviled by people who do not even know us."

Addressing the workers, Grobler said they had failed the workers and now knew that their conduct had hurt them.

"With true remorse and humility, we ask you to forgive us," Grobler ended the apology.

One of the workers Rebecca Adams accepted the apology on behalf of the women.

"A deed of love has been demonstrated by those young people who firstly pleaded for forgiveness," she said.

The public reconciliation ceremony followed after an out of court agreement between the workers, "the boys" as the former students were referred to on Friday and the university.

SA Human Rights Commission chairman Lawrence Mushwana said other parts of the out of court settlement were pecuniary tributes, an agreement on job security for the workers at the UFS and the establishment of a Human Rights institute at the university.

The ceremony took place in the old Centenary Hall with tables set in five long rows in front of a stage with an SA flag stick.

The black and white table settings were rounded off with five huge silver five candle stands.

Public apology

In front of the stage tables were set for the workers, the students and the UFS representative Professor Theuns Verschoor who made a public apology on behalf of the UFS.

Verschoor apologised to the workers for criticising them initially for taking part in student pranks during working hours, to the students for turning its back on them and to the rest of South Africa for not acting in a pro-active manner in the Reitz saga.

Asked whether there was real reconciliation amidst Friday's fanfare, deputy-chairwoman of the SAHRC Pregs Govender said reconciliation had been reached through a long process since the video incident and not by a single event.

"It been a long journey to this point and the elements of reconciliation were in the agreement, the issues around equality and the protection against discrimination have been upheld and a public apology and request for forgiveness."

Verschoor said during Thursday's private meeting between the workers and students that there was real remorse shown and acceptance between all the parties.

A small traditional cleansing ceremony was also held after the read statements which followed a period of hugging, back slapping and congratulations between the students, guests and the workers.

Comments
  • bennirak - 2011-02-26 07:38

    Thank you for this story. This event was a symbolic act after a long process, and I think it should set the tone for how we handle difficult and racially charged problems in South Africa: With Love and Open Dialogue. We live in a beautiful country with amazing people. We can make it work.

      Rolie - 2011-02-26 08:02

      Well said!!! Take notice all racists out there - Black or White.

      Swartvel - 2011-02-26 08:06

      I urge the colord community to do the same with "Manyi" as what was done by the ANC with the Reits, Manyi hurt the colords and he is to pay penalties, please my brothers from another mother, make sure we give the anc the same medicine, anc should set an example in not being racist but they are the worst racist currently, they are a communist party who do not want piece in this land...Colords nail "Manyi"

      immelmap - 2011-02-27 12:10

      Besides the urination there are no difference between this and a Leon Schuster movie.Not that I agree with everything of the two. What I would like to no is.Did they urinate on the food or is their story true that they used orange cooldrink?.Would like to know.

  • Chris - 2011-02-26 07:47

    I'm glad these jerks have been brought to book. It has been a long process, so long that it has undermined the cause of justice (as in flogging a dead horse - the point was made years ago. Punish the offence and move on already! Now, can we have Jimmy Manyi go through the same process for insultiing the "coloured" community? Perhaps it would speed things up is Julius Malema was handled at the same time for insulting Afrikaners.

      dup007 - 2011-02-26 08:02

      who are the jerks - the reitz four or those who played along and tried to get political (and financial) gain out of this storm in a cup... just asking

  • dup007 - 2011-02-26 07:48

    ag shame - hope leon shuchter do the same for all those in his movies.....

      Vigorous - 2011-02-26 08:56

      dup007 are you on drugs?????

  • Met - 2011-02-26 08:11

    As little as people would like to admit it, this was clearly a student prank, fuelled by alcohol, that went wrong. Initially, the workers played along until they realized that they could gain from it and encouraged by the political vermin.The political commissars too,have exploited the situation- not for the benefit of the workers but for political gain.No person can possibly condone what happened but the political exploitation is equally as filthy- rotten to the core. The proceedings were turned into a political circus, reminiscent of the old USSSR. A true reflection of what this country has become

      dup007 - 2011-02-26 08:27

      so true - it is so clear that they played along and even enjoyed it - untill polititions brain washed them - what a joke...like parliment - maybe we can sell their brains - will get nice price - unused...

      VM1 - 2011-02-26 09:14

      Just a prank ! ! ! - this is lesson then to all praksters then - do not go this far as it will not be tolerated. Some ideas must remain in the head never to be let out. I have never seen the prank before esp with white ladies for actors. When i see that - I will be convinced about the prank side of this.

      Mxo32 - 2011-02-26 09:41

      I gues you cannot blame those that find it enjoyable to kill the farmers then if this is acceptable....Prank my foot. I hate racist be it black or white period.

  • Zion - 2011-02-26 08:29

    One does not wish to re-sensitize a matter which has been deliberately sensitized by the ruling party ethic. What exactly has been gained by all this pomp and ceremony to forgive and forget. In some circles this issue has been drawn out to its utmost maximum and only done so to gain some advantage which is hardly discernible even when scratched out with the twig of arrogance. It is not going to rest, not by a long shot because it is seen as a victory by the ruling party and much less so by the "hurt" party. If the same people, ie, those people who went to all the trouble to sort this apology out for the last three years, addressed the farm murders and similar crime then we can actually say they have done something worthwhile. Sadly, farm murders has become the preferred crime in this country because the doers and getters are cowards. Forgiving takes about 10 words and just so many seconds.

      dup007 - 2011-02-26 15:25

      Give all a nice big laugh - what a joke

  • Zion - 2011-02-26 08:40

    One does not wish to re-sensitize a matter which has been deliberately sensitized by the ruling party ethic. What exactly has been gained by all this pomp and ceremony to forgive and forget. In some circles this issue has been drawn out to its utmost maximum and only done so to gain some advantage which is hardly discernible even when scratched out with the twig of arrogance. It is not going to rest, not by a long shot because it is seen as a victory by the ruling party and much less so by the "hurt" party. If the same people, ie, those people who went to all the trouble to sort this apology out for the last three years, addressed the farm murders and similar crime then we can actually say they have done something worthwhile. Sadly, farm murders has become the preferred crime in this country because the doers and getters are cowards. Forgiving takes about 10 words and just so many seconds.

  • Neo - 2011-02-26 08:47

    I am glad that the parties has put this behind them. However, if we have to go through all this drama for every incident that takes place on a daily basis, from all race groups, this is all we'll end up doing in this country. Just start accepting the fact that we are all different and try and live with it. STOP RACISM!

  • Frankthetank - 2011-02-26 08:49

    the biggest crime agains humanity - what a shame. let us all learn from this horrifying event and never let our children witness such horror

  • VM1 - 2011-02-26 09:02

    A nice "prank" to impress friends and girlfriends ends up being a nightmare recorded against these boys for the rest of their lives. Everyone knows what they once did. There is a a lesson to be learnt here for everyone we have laws in this country and they are enforced !!!!

      Frankthetank - 2011-02-26 09:12

      SA the safest place in the world not to be served Oros and Urine. Well done on the enforcement - at least one less crime not to look out for.

  • Met - 2011-02-26 09:39

    The few who are apprehended for murder, are placed in"safe custody, treated humanely and even given the opportunity to study" Do you know what these savages do to their victims? They are brutally tortured, babies dunked in boiling water or burned with an iron.Do you hear about it or are we given detail of these attacks? NO!But this is exactly what is happening.No different to what happened elsewhere in Africa.Compare the treatment of those who have been found guilty( rarely) of brutal murder and the treatment of the Reitz 4? The murderers have taken their first step into politics or a govt job.

  • Ysterman - 2011-02-26 09:48

    "behave" spell check is News24's worst enemy!!

      shrink - 2011-02-26 10:22

      soberin comennt... hehe..heeee

  • Ponder - 2011-02-26 10:21

    I heard the statement by the students on radio, and it's an inspiring moment. There is more things that unite us South African than divide. And to hear both sides reconcile, gives me hope for SA. We are going to have further dumps on the road but when we on both sides leave the past then the future is brighter. I hope people realise that they are so much more, and accepting each others faults is a step in the right direction. Thank you for making me proud to be a South Africa.

  • Sue - 2011-02-26 10:29

    I hope it's a lesson to all those youngsters out there that humiliation to others no matter what colour is not acceptable and they should be ashamed for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately the victims will always remember this incident and feel ashamed of what happened to them, it's degrading to say the least. I'm disgusted with this kind of behaviour.

      dehaan1942 - 2011-02-26 11:22

      Perhaps it would be a good idea to let those blacks who rape a white woman go on tv and apologize to her and all the white women. I take it you might agree with that, Sue?

  • simple66 - 2011-02-26 12:00

    The noral of the story is something good has come out of something that unintentionally went very wrong - a good lesson for all of that just politically on how to deal with things in a positive manner if it goes wrong xxx

  • pawsaw - 2011-02-26 12:02

    I will believe that our society is whole when Julius Malema goes on television and radio and is judged by the ANC and YL and makes public apologies to the families of all the Boers who have actually had members killed and tortured by people who he has incited to "KILL" the boers simply because it WAS a folk song during the years of struggle. I want to hear Zuma too apologise to the nation and berate Julius publicly for his role in the support of rape of Black women and hear Zuma apologise for his own lack of backbone and role in the rape of a family friend's HIV positive daughter in his home. THEN I will believe our society is less racist. I'd like to hear them read out a list of names of those murdered starting with Terreblanche even whom I despised. They should each receive a cane across the buttocks for each victim tortured and killed with a cat of 9 tails to show their contrition. If they are real men then the pain of this should not be difficult. The Reitz 4 were men enough to do this to avert bloodshed and humiliation and their crime was as nothing compared to what has been done to the Boerevolk and farmers who are a vital part of our economy and every man woman and child in this country who eat. The ANC are totally insensitive to the humiliation and hurt caused to every person in this country when a farmer dies in a brutal murder encouraged by Julius who is also a "YOUTH" and has yet to apologise for HIS outrageous behaviour.

      Leeutjie - 2011-02-26 16:01

      They will NEVER apologise. It's their culture remember.

  • nz.mnyandu - 2011-02-26 13:22

    It's the right thing they apologised. It was wrong what they did anyway and am sure they have learnt a valuable lesson.

      paulvanderschyff - 2011-02-27 08:20

      Booo-hoooo......sucking up is not a strong characteristic.

      Thas-Man - 2011-02-28 12:21

      Mchana we black people are way too forgiving.

      Wendy - 2011-02-28 13:18

      THAT WILL NEVER LEARN.

  • CyberDog - 2011-02-26 13:23

    I will only be truly impressed if they could make the effort to humiliate all those barbaric animals who are caught killing farmers like this as well. Reconciliation works both ways. This is just lip service, picking on the easy targets, some extra mileage for the media.

      CyberDog - 2011-02-26 13:27

      Wow, and just before the elections to.... Stirring up all the racial discontent towards whites, as a reminder why not to vote for a white led party. Really rich... Thanks for the propaganda, it does us all so much good.

  • paulvanderschyff - 2011-02-26 13:33

    What a load of utter bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never have I seen electronic media wasted with the release of information as much as I have today.....what a load of crap!!!!!!!! This should be on YouTube somewhere.

      Leeutjie - 2011-02-26 16:05

      Maybe on funniest home videos.

  • Met - 2011-02-26 13:39

    Reported in the press today that the Tshwane Metro Police "force" have more than 100 criminals in their ranks, guilty of offences ranging from assault, indecent assault,public violence, theft, drunken driving, contempt.What is being done about it? NOTHING.No public shows of apology or political circus. SA needs to wake up

  • blatand - 2011-02-26 20:14

    I find Prof. Theuns Verschoor's role in this mediation rather rich. Is it not the same Theuns Verschoor who terminated intervarsity between Tuks and Wits when he was SRC chairman at Tuks? And why? Because Wits had accepted a few black students.

  • Heks - 2011-02-26 20:14

    Hope this is over. Just no "feet washing" please!

  • Ricardo - 2011-02-26 21:43

    @Met your comments are not helping the situationg these guys have been forgiven nd you say the workers enjoyd da whole thing?also da anc has 4 givn the reitz guys,please can we nt be racist nd Jimmy manyi has apologised to da coloured society,so lets leave the past behind.too new begings,a bettes s.a 4 all!

  • Kevin Rack - 2011-02-27 06:18

    Almost at the same time, at the same campus, some non white kids were conducting excatly the same ceremony, on poeple of not the same race, yet we do not see them get called up. Our clowns in government are playing the race card over and over again for politcal reasons and one day we might even see the Radio whispers that fueled the Rawanda Genocides take place. This is a very dangerous tool but luckily the vast majority of our people are law abiding honest folk who are starting to see the race card trick for what it really is. A sham of a party struggling to come to grips with its beliefs in a modern world.

      paulvanderschyff - 2011-02-27 08:18

      I am happy to see the obvious coming to light more often now Kevin. This government underestimate the power of time and realisation...

  • Wendy - 2011-02-28 13:13

    ONLY GOD CAN FORGIVE YOU BASTARDS. YOU SICK, APOLOGY IS NOT SINCERE AND I HOPE YOU ALL SUFFER FOR WHAT YOU DID TO DECENT HUMAN BEINGS

      poorwhite - 2011-02-28 13:27

      Wendy, Wendy....why are you soooo upset! You have a complex obviously!

      Boychild - 2011-02-28 13:41

      Dear Wendy, If you are without guilt, throw the first stone, but if you have one incident of making a stupid mistake in all your life, who are you to judge....

      Baboon - 2011-02-28 14:02

      Dont you think the government should apologise to the whites for all of the brutal racist farm murders that are a daily occurence in this country? I mean thousands have occured and it is obvious that the government, who is responsible for law and order, have no interest in stopping it. In fact they have gone to court to defend their right to sing their song that calls for the shooting of the white man. I really think thats a bit more serious than a few kids pissing in someones soup....dont you?

  • Steve - 2011-02-28 13:38

    Let's not all get beyond ourselves, & see the incident for what it was - an idiotic prank that went horribly wrong. The boys have admitted their guilt, and been forgiven by the people they wronged. End of story.

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