Fort Hare celebrates 100 years amid campus violence

2016-05-20 07:28


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Alice - The University of Fort Hare's centenary celebration is set to get under way on Friday, despite student protests on campus this week.

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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who is a graduate of the university, is expected to be among the guests. He will be joined by President Jacob Zuma and other dignitaries still to be announced.

Zuma was expected to deliver the keynote address and Mugabe would speak as an alumnus. South African musicians, including Nathi, Ringo Madlingozi, and the Mahotella Queens were expected to perform.

The university was originally known as the South African Native College. Many of the country's political elite such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi studied there. Others included artist Ernest Mancoba and poet Dennis Brutus.

It changed to a college for Xhosa speakers when the National Party government took it over between 1959 and 1960.

Preparations for the celebrations got off to a rocky start when students at the Alice campus set fire to a building and a tent on Wednesday night. They claimed university management had not met their demands.

On Thursday, Vice Chancellor Mvuyo Tom said students started the fires despite the fact that management and the Student Representative Council had an amicable meeting and reached an agreement that night.

Of the 16 issues students raised, 12 were agreed upon on Wednesday evening. The other four issues had been dealt with previously, he said.

Fourteen students had been arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and theft.

On Thursday night, there were reports of more violence on campus, with police using stun grenades and teargas to disperse protesting students.

Read more on:    university of fort hare  |  east london  |  education  |  university protests

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