UCT dinner for people of colour only, organisers remain unapologetic
The organisers of a supper, planned for the University of Cape Town's (UCT) Decolonial Winter School (DWS), which invited "POC only" (people of colour), are unapologetic about their stance, despite social media backlash.
UCT's DWS is a programme scheduled for June 24, and it has the aim of "challenging the notions of colonisation and putting the theories of decolonisation into practice".
Students and social media users were outraged at the inclusion of a one-hour supper reserved for POC's, saying it amounted to racism and segregation.
'A space where black people can decompress'
"The collective decided that it is black people who are burdened with the process of decolonisation," DWS organiser and student activist Alex Hotz said.
"In these spaces that involve white people, we often find that black people are forced to censor themselves to protect white fragility. It was meant to be a space where black people can decompress."
Hotz said that the programme also focused on "challenging liberal basic notions of racism".
"We received a lot of backlash from white people on social media who argued that this amounted to segregation," she said.
"We are challenging liberal basic notions of racism, which relates to structural and systemic power. It is ironic because white people were silent under apartheid and are silent about the benefits they continue to reap due to white privilege."
Backlash to supper
The university released a statement in acknowledgement of the backlash.
"Entrance to UCT events may not be restricted on the basis of race," UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said.
"Our understanding is that the students and alumni arranging the event have been informed accordingly and have agreed that the programme wording will be changed."
Hotz said that the outrage was detracting from the importance of the programme. She added that the university's response to the controversy was an example of problematic behaviour that needed to be addressed.
"This is an example of how power works in terms of the pressure that the white masses have – to call the university and question the authority of black lecturers," she said.
"They are not interrogating the real issues surrounding power, which need to be looked at with new eyes. We are unapologetic about our politics on decolonisation at this school." News24
From the De-colonial school’s Facebook page:
(Frequently asked questions)
- Is the program open to everyone?
Yes, although the festival is being facilitated through UCT, it is not exclusive to UCT students. We hope to curate a space in which all are welcome wherein we learn about the process and politics of Decolonisation.
- What is the POC (people of color) supper break?
Our intention was to create a space where black people can come together to communicate their experiences of the day without having to shelter white fragility. Following the truth in the safety of womxn only spaces relevant to the persistent patriarchy, hegemonic masculinity and abuse of womxn of our current existence. We feel that in this period of interrogation of the question of Decolonisation, there is safety in black only spaces, resultant from the trauma and oppression of the past and present. This was our intension when curating the event, however following in conversation with the university this is null and void and therefore all events are open to all participants.
- Is there transportation?
There will be a bus to transport participants from Tugwell to Hiddingh for the second phase of the Winter school (The Decolonial Winter School Bus). This will take place at 6PM daily. Transportation will also be available to bring participants back from Hiddingh leaving promptly at 10:15PM and arriving at Tugwell at around 10:35PM.
N.B. Transportation is likely to leave later on Monday and Thursday as the directors of the films will be hosting discussions post the screening of their films.
- Are there bathroom facilities available,
- RSVP link.
The RSVP link has “officially” closed as of 12PM 21/06/2018. This was a mechanisim to gauge numbers for catering and transport purposes. Please bear that in mind if were not able to RSVP in time and still wish to attend.
- Will participants be required to do readings for the reprective discussions?
Readings will be made available and their reading highly advised however their reading is entirely up to you.
- Will there be live streaming?
Yes. Live streaming of all conversations and projects will be made available on Facebook.
- Will there be parking?
Yes. Parking is available infront of Azania (Avenue) Hall, so long as it does not obstruct traffic. There is also parking available behind Variets res (Across from University House)
- Will directions be available?
Yes. A link will be provided.
- Is attendance compulsory to all events?
No, please feel free to attend the events that you feel you will individually grow from.
- Free food?
Breakfast will be provided (Tea and a snack) along with a full lunch and dinner.
Source: Decolonial School, Facebook.