Debate overshadows discussion

2019-07-10 06:01
At the panel discussion on the book Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall by Prof. Adam Habib, rector of the University of the Witwatersrand, are from the left Tshiamo Malatji (editor-in-chief of the student newspaper Irawa of the University of the Free State), Habib, Prof. Francis Petersen (rector of the UFS) and Ruda Landman (facilitator).Photo: Precious Lesupi

At the panel discussion on the book Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall by Prof. Adam Habib, rector of the University of the Witwatersrand, are from the left Tshiamo Malatji (editor-in-chief of the student newspaper Irawa of the University of the Free State), Habib, Prof. Francis Petersen (rector of the UFS) and Ruda Landman (facilitator).Photo: Precious Lesupi

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“Do I think violence was necessary? No. I do think this complacency about violence in our society has to be challenged,” said Prof. Adam Habib, rector of the University of the Witwaters­rand, at the discussion of his book Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall at the ATKV-Boeke-oase on Wednesday (03/07).

The panel discussion, led by Ruda Landman, included Tshiamo Malatji, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper Irawa of the University of the Free State (UFS), Habib and Prof. Francis Petersen, rector of the UFS.

This discussion formed part of the Vrystaat Arts Festival’s Literature Festival.

The discussion of the book was, however, oversha­dowed by the panelists’ varied interpretations of the violence by students during the protests which took place from 2015 to 2017.

Habib claimed that he had no dispute with the initial protests until it was characterised by violence.

“Students should be arrested when they become violent and burn things down,” Habib said.

Malatji contested Habib’s views by claiming that violence as a last resort had become the only option available to students as he alluded to the increasingly militarized character of universities, rogue private security units and the failure of rectorate bodies to engage fairly with students.

Petersen chose to reaffirm the importance of the Student Representative Council as being the legitimate structure to discuss student’s concerns. – Londeka Mthethwa

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