It is not easy being a leader in SA - Jansen

2016-04-26 07:21
UFS Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

UFS Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Bloemfontein – It is very difficult being a leader in the new environment in South Africa, University of Free State vice chancellor, Professor Jonathan Jansen, said on Monday.

"What is currently happening for vice chancellors in the country, who are in the heart of it all, is that we are not sure anymore if the benefits of being [leaders] outweigh the cost anymore.

"For me it has really been a difficult period – although the majority of students are not violent," Jansen told News24.   

Earlier this year, the university received a lot of media attention after a small group of students led by the SRC president embarked on a protest which culminated in a mass brawl at the Varsity Cup rugby match at Shimla Park stadium in February.  

EFF protesters also pulled down and vandalised a statue of Charles Robberts Swart at the university.

CR Swart was the last governor general of the Union of South Africa until 1961, and was president of the Republic of South Africa from 1961 to 1967.

Protesters burnt tyres at the foot of the statue, and used hammers and rocks to bring it down.

"We are not used to what we have been experiencing. There is new anger. It hasn't been smooth sailing, and each one of us [vice chancellors] has received personal insults each day, but we have also received support from communities," Jansen said.      

“I think in general being a vice chancellor of a university has its perks. As with any big organisation, there are costs and there are benefits, and the costs are something that you expect.

"Anybody who thinks they can just come in and have a smooth ride especially in a former white university... then that won't happen."

Jansen said he needed to work extra hard to bring white and black communities together to ensure transformation.

"You can’t have transformation with yourself. Transformation can only happen through conversations."

One of the things he was most proud off was sitting through graduation ceremonies and celebrating with students obtaining their degrees.

Read more on:    ufs  |  jonathan jansen  |  bloemfontein  |  university protests  |  education

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