Rabid racism at Stellenbosch University – ANC

Party calls for decisive action from Minister of Blade Nzimande over issues exposed by Luister documentary


26 August 2015

The African National Congress is shocked and outraged by the institutionalised racism exposed in the documentary, Luister, which narrates the lived experiences and daily reality of more than 30 students and a lecturer at the Stellenbosch University.

The Stellenbsoch University, an erstwhile laager of white supremacy continues to make news for all the wrong reasons - rabid racism and the protection and upholding of white privilege at the institution. 21 years since the democratic breakthrough of 1994 - a peaceful transition which assumed a common national vision to build an inclusive, non-racial country - the management and Council of the University have failed to provide leadership on issues of transformation. Even during the dark days of apartheid, black children did not feel that “being black was a social burden” and that they “had to die as a black person in order to survive at Stellenbosch”.

21 years on, transformation can no longer be negotiated. The African National Congress is calling for decisive action from the Ministry of Higher Education and Training in this matter. To this end, it is our wish that the Minister institutes and acts on a far ranging probe into racism at this institution.

Just this year alone a white lecturer was dismissed for sending a racist sms to a black student, and amongst many other stories of racism at Stellensbosch, two students last year continued with the demeaning practice of “blackfacing”, portraying racial stereotypes in the name of “fun”, that have no place in a South Africa still dealing with the debilitating and dehumanising legacy of apartheid. To date, numerous calls have been made for the university to reconsider its exclusionary language policy. Yet it is clear racism remains entrenched at the University - unashamed and unabated. 

The ANC has also been made aware that the students that have spoken up against this institutionalised racism are now being victimised at the University. The ANC strongly encourages university management and Council to desist from taking any punitive action against these innocent students whose only crime has been exposing that which has been consistently swept under the carpet at Stellenbosch.

Statement issued by Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson, August 26 2015