How campus names fell

oneAlex Hotz, a postgraduate student at UCT, outside the entrance of the Bremner Building this week, which students protesters occupied and renamed Azania House. Picture: Yazeed ­Kamaldien
oneAlex Hotz, a postgraduate student at UCT, outside the entrance of the Bremner Building this week, which students protesters occupied and renamed Azania House. Picture: Yazeed ­Kamaldien

Just like at other campuses throughout the country, women took charge of the #FeesMustFall movement at the conservative university.

In honour of the notion that you strike a woman, you strike a rock, the Stellies ­uprising was also referred to as an mbokodo (rock) movement.

It was a woman, Jodi Williams, who was at the forefront of the protest.

Farai Mubaiwa, a 20-year-old accounting student at Stellenbosch University, says: “It was an emotional ­student who just decided to occupy the Admin B building on Monday ... The rest of us joined. We already decided to rename the building Winnie Mandela House on WhatsApp while we were rushing to get there.

“There was debate about it, but we decided she had stood behind Nelson Mandela for all those years. It was time to glorify female leaders and their role in the ­struggle.”

Just like at other campuses throughout the country, women took charge of the #FeesMustFall movement at the conservative university. In honour of the notion that you strike a woman, you strike a rock, the Stellies ­uprising was also referred to as an mbokodo (rock) movement. It was a woman, Jodi Williams, who was at the forefront of the protest.

“We decided at the beginning that black women – preferably black queer women – would chair all of the meetings, and that’s what happened,” says Mubaiwa, who is the student representative council (SRC) member in charge of the women empowerment portfolio.

On Tuesday, the protesting students were met with violent resistance from the police. That evening, they occupied the RW Wilcocks Building and renamed it the Lillian Ngoyi Building.

Students next renamed the main lecture hall in ­Winnie Mandela House Marikana Hall.

At the University of Cape Town, the Bremner ­Building was renamed Azania House.

Wits University’s Senate House was occupied and renamed Solomon Mahlangu House in honour of the Umkhonto weSizwe operative murdered by apartheid forces.

Many students on campuses countrywide this week wondered why it took physical occupation to ­rename a building to honour struggle heroes – and why ­management hadn’t done it themselves 20 years ago

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