UCT's Maxwele slammed over physical altercation with female Wits student

Chumani Maxwele protests near the Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT. (Twitter)
Chumani Maxwele protests near the Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT. (Twitter)

Cape Town - UCT student Chumani Maxwele, who infamously threw poo on the university's Cecil John Rhodes statue last year, has been caught in the middle of another controversy, after a picture of him with his hands around a female student went viral.

Maxwele took part in protest action at the University of Witwatersrand on Monday.

He told News24 that he had come to Johannesburg to protest in solidarity with students from several universities, including Wits, who had been suspended.  

The Rhodes Must Fall figurehead has come under fire on social media though after pictures started circulating showing him involved in an alleged physical scrap with a female student.

The altercation started after a small group describing themselves as feminists and "queer persons", armed with sjamboks‚ disrupted the protest, Times Live reported.

Sanitary products were thrown at some of the protesters aligned to the EFF and PAC.

'I asked him to leave my breast'

The woman student in question, who goes by the moniker Honourable Spigga on Twitter, posted a picture of the incident with Maxwele.

"An image of Chumani Maxwele attempting to remove me. I asked to please leave my breast. #NOTMYFMF," her tweet read.

A second picture has also been doing the rounds.

Many on social media assumed Maxwele was physically abusing the woman, and subsequently slammed him.

Maxwele, though, vehemently denied the claims on Tuesday, telling Radio 702 he was trying to stop the woman student in question, who was armed with a sjambok, from inciting more violence.

The student herself, identified as Thenjiwe Mswane, called in and backed up his version of events, but then launched into Maxwele on a number of other issues.

The interview, hosted by 702's Redi Tlhabi, then became a vociferous debate between the two parties.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Wits reopened

While #ChumaniMaxwele was trending on Tuesday morning, the university reopened, despite protesters starting a fire in a lecture hall on Monday afternoon.

The university said quick action by campus control helped save the building.

"Wits University condemns the behaviour of the approximately 150 individuals who disrupted lectures and started a fire in an empty lecture theatre on the Braamfontein campus today," the institution said in a statement. 

"Due to the quick reaction of campus control, the fire was quickly extinguished and electricity was restored to the building."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
38% - 4408 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 2970 votes
No, I don't think they need it
36% - 4198 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.51
(-1.41)
ZAR/GBP
21.45
(-1.19)
ZAR/EUR
18.38
(-0.72)
ZAR/AUD
11.86
(-0.58)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.93)
Gold
1682.16
(-1.45)
Silver
25.14
(-1.04)
Platinum
1141.00
(+0.44)
Brent Crude
70.77
(0.00)
Palladium
2309.01
(-0.79)
All Share
68426.17
(+0.23)
Top 40
62910.60
(+0.19)
Financial 15
12747.28
(-0.10)
Industrial 25
87156.37
(-0.52)
Resource 10
71780.93
(+1.38)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo