Stellenbosch student: Being black is a social burden

2015-08-22 20:00
Stellenbosch University. (City Press)

Stellenbosch University. (City Press)

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Cape Town – At least 30 students have spoken out about racial prejudice at Stellenbosch University and surrounds in a documentary posted on social media.

And while the university on Saturday acknowledged the issues raised, it said the Luister (Listen) documentary created the impression that management did not listen to students.

"Management is deeply aware of the fact that the institutional culture is experienced by some students as unwelcoming," it said in a statement.

It listed a number of relevant initiatives and steps that were being taken as part of a transformation plan.

"In addition, the University again confirms that the violation of human rights and victimisation will not be tolerated – regardless of who is involved."

The video, produced by media company Contraband Cape Town, shed light on the experience of some students who struggled with Afrikaans as a teaching language and as a culture.

One male student said: "The colour of my skin in Stellenbosch is like a social burden. Just walking into spaces, there is that 'stop, pause and stare' where people cannot believe that you would dare enter the space."

"Being black within the Stellenbosch community, you know you are not accepted and you kind of ask yourself: 'What's wrong with me and what did I do wrong?'" said a female student.

The university said the video misrepresented some issues.

It said it was not the case that the university took disciplinary action against those who participated in protests.

Action was taken only where there was disruption, infringement on others’ rights and in 'risky' situations.

The video also created the impression that Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute was part of the university, instead of the provincial agriculture department.

There is currently a dispute over language policy at Elsenburg.

Stellenbosch University management said it remained committed to open discussions and to transformation.

Watch the video:

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