Luister highlights that 'more needs to be done'

2015-08-31 14:15
Students protest outside Stellenbosch University. (Twitter)

Students protest outside Stellenbosch University. (Twitter)

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Cape Town – Newly-elected Stellenbosch University SRC chairperson Axolile Qina said when he first saw the documentary Luister (Listen), he felt hurt and disappointed.

Luister, a video produced by media company Contraband Cape Town, sheds light on the experiences of some students and lecturers in terms of racial discrimination both on and off campus.

The university management will on Tuesday appear before the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training to table their transformation plans in response to racism allegations as well as the documentary.

Rector and vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers last week said he welcomed the invitation, adding that the university would subsequently also provide feedback to Dr Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education and training, on its transformation challenges, on the progress made, current initiatives and future plans.

Different emotions

“[When I saw Luister] I felt different emotions, but most prominent were hurt and disappointment,” he told News24.

“Having served in the university’s leadership structures for three years, I realised that not only more needs to be done, but the intensity of this process should increase, with a collaborative intensified effort.”

In the video, 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."

A female student said in the video: "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?'"

Transformation was a process, said Qina.

Diverse university experience

“I believe transformation begins with the heart. Such a process needs... collective minds to come together and discuss the shortcomings that can... accelerate the process that is already under way,” he said.

Student leaders also need to ensure that all students feel welcomed and that they have a "diverse university experience", he said.

Last week, committee chairperson Yvonne Phosa said they had noted "with serious concern the allegations of racism and violence" at the campus.

"We are 21 years into a democratic South Africa and such alleged acts certainly have no place in our society."

She said while they were aware of some measures that had been put in place, such efforts had to be "sped up" in light of the allegations revealed in the Luister video.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  racism  |  education

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