Tuks students hailed for bravery after #FeesMustFall march turned ugly

2016-03-15 11:05
University of Pretoria students Msizi Ndlovu (L) and Modise Sefume with the British High Commission staff they saved Linda Hooper (L) and Helen Horne. (Supplied to News24)

University of Pretoria students Msizi Ndlovu (L) and Modise Sefume with the British High Commission staff they saved Linda Hooper (L) and Helen Horne. (Supplied to News24)

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This is not a united movement, says UP Vice Chancellor

2016-02-26 14:36

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Vice Chancellor at the University of Pretoria (UP) that, unlike the Fees Must Fall movement, current protests on campus are not united. She also says the university has increased security and has "no tolerance" for criminality.WATCH

Pretoria - The bravery and compassion of two University of Pretoria students has been hailed by the British High Commission after the pair saved two diplomats from an advancing mob when a #FeesMustFall march turned ugly in Pretoria last year.

Msizi Ndlovu and Modise Sefume came to the rescue of Helen Horne and Linda Hooper – two members of the British High Commission, who were conducting official business in downtown Pretoria on the day – when they were surrounded by a rampant mob and the rear window of their vehicle was smashed with a brick.

Ndlovu and Sefume, themselves in danger, managed to extract the two women from the volatile situation.

Speaking to News24, Sefume said they had been in the city centre when the march had turned violent.

Angry mob

“We were walking down the road and we got a sense that things were getting a bit rowdy.

“We carried on walking until we got to a street opposite Meulmed Hospital and I saw the most obscene act of violence. A mob had closed the road and started stopping cars and looting any vehicle that was coming past,” he said.

“We watched in disgust and we saw a car with two ladies stuck in the gridlocked traffic. As they were about to turn around they [the mob] pelted the car with rocks and bricks,” Sefume said.

He said that he and Ndlovu had moved towards the car but were weary of being overt with their actions of aid.

“We approached the car and we realised that any attempt to help white people might put us in harm’s way for selling out from the majority black crowd.

“We didn’t want to be on the receiving end and I sat at the back of the car to cover the British Commission number plate while my friend was trying to direct traffic to get the ladies out,” he said.

“We released that the angrier the mob, got the more vulnerable the women became. We eventually got them inside the hospital and this played out over about an hour.

“We would do it again and there was no reason for them to be attacked for no reason. I would hate to think of myself as a hero, I think I was a good person on that day,” Sefume added.

'Responsibility, bravery and compassion'

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, said the actions of the two went far beyond peaceful conduct during protest actions.

“Msizi and Modise acted with great responsibility, bravery and compassion, and are a great credit to themselves and our institution. I am honoured and humbled by the shining example of their truly remarkable conduct under difficult circumstances, which exemplifies the values of humanity, decency and social cohesion that we try to foster in our students.

“I do believe that they will in time receive recognition as role models to be emulated as we move together on our shared path towards inclusivity and social cohesion as an institution and as a country,” she said.

Colonel John McCardle, Defence Adviser of the British High Commission, said the students' actions were worthy of praise and recognition.

“We are all most grateful for their assistance in a time of need and their ability to stand up and be counted when the easier option was most likely to turn away. This was a terrifying situation which turned into something very positive; we met two great young men whom we will stay in touch with,” he said.

Ndlovu is a sixth-year medical student and Sefume, who graduated with his LLB last year, is currently serving articles. They both matriculated from Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria  |  university fees  |  good news  |  university protests

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