Shimla Park race brawl report: UFS told to address racism

2017-01-14 09:17
An injured man is brought to safely by students after a racially charged brawl at the University of the Free State's Shimla Park in February 2016. (Conrad Bornman, Netwerk24)

An injured man is brought to safely by students after a racially charged brawl at the University of the Free State's Shimla Park in February 2016. (Conrad Bornman, Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein - A racially charged brawl at the University of the Free State (UFS) in February 2016 will have longstanding ramifications for the institution, as it enforces the recommendations of a formal inquiry this year.

Shimla Park became the centre of a turf war during a rugby match, when protesters stormed the fields.   

Moments later a group of rugby supporters chased down the student protesters, and a full-on brawl ensued.

In dramatic video footage, the rugby supporters can be seen kicking the student protesters, and vice versa.

The fracas showed the cracks in the tenuous race relations at the university, which has struggled with social cohesion and a string of racist attacks.

In the wake of the brawl, students went on the rampage and vandalised two men's hostels. Unconfirmed allegations from insiders were that white students were being assaulted on campus.

The university confirmed that the report had been submitted in December and that the institution would implement all of its recommendations.

University must 'create understanding'

According to a statement issued on Thursday, the commission, led by retired Constitutional Court Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, had examined written submissions, audio-visual material, and conducted in loco inspections during the course of its investigation.

"Recommendations in the report include, among others, that overt or covert racism, intentional or otherwise, must be addressed by the UFS without delay," the statement reads.

"Furthermore, an ongoing discourse on transformation and understanding between students and staff of different races and from different backgrounds is necessary to promote social cohesion. The use of hate speech, or inflammatory or hurtful language that borders on it should be avoided."

"The recommendations further indicate that the UFS must actively strive to create greater understanding, for example, understanding by white students for the frustration and anger of black students, understanding by black students for the fear of white students."

The veil was lifted on racism at the institution in 2007 when the now infamous Reitz Residence video was thrust to the fore.  

Students Johnny Roberts, Danie Grobler, Schalk van der Merwe and RC Malherbe had made Rebecca Adams, Laukaziemma Koko, Noom Phororo, Nitta Ntseng and David Molete - all cleaners at the residence - eat meat which had allegedly been urinated on. They videotaped the incident.

The video showed the four white male students making the five black workers - four women and one man - down a bottle of beer, run a race, play rugby and then kneel and eat the meat.  

Read more on:    ufs  |  bloemfontein

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.


SA stats: The role of pets in families

New survey shows impact animals have on SA families



The top 6 poisonous foods for your pet
Does your dog have separation anxiety?
Fascinating facts about dogs
Perfectly captured cat snapchats!
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.