Stellenbosch students potest against 'racism' and Afrikaans lg.policy

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Jul 28 17:43:00 UTC 2005

>>From the Cape Times

Stellenbosch students to protest against 'racism' and Afrikaans language policy

By Karen Breytenbach

Perceptions of Stellenbosch University have changed among black students over
the past five years, a Centre for Science and Technology survey has found.
The centre surveyed black students at Stellenbosch and found that many of them
viewed it as a university of quality, offering tuition and producing research
that were of national and international standard.

Between 72% and 75% believed the Afrikaans language and culture were being
maintained, while 58% to 66% believed the university was multicultural and
inclusive. According to the standards of the National Research Foundation,
Stellenbosch and UCT researchers rank highest in the country and the enrolment
of black and coloured post-graduate students has more than doubled in the past
five years.

This was announced yesterday by Stellenbosch University rector and
vice-chancellor Chris Brink during his annual public report, on the eve of a
protest planned by students who believe the university is not being transformed
into an academically, culturally and financially inclusive institution. ANC
Youth League (ANCYL) and SA Students Congress (Sasco) members at Stellenbosch
University are also to protest today against alleged racism and the
university's language policy, under which all undergraduate courses are
presented in Afrikaans. They demand that all study material be made available
in English.

The march is to begin in Kayamandi and end in front of the university's
Administration B building in Victoria Street. The Student Representatives
Council has announced that it "fully supports the right of any organisation to
stage a protest to resolve grievances" and agrees that transformation is
dragging. "There are still too few black, coloured and Indian students on
campus and many students (and lecturers) struggle to feel at home here, succeed
academically and survive financially.

These are unacceptable stressors," SRC chairman Lourens du Plessis said.
At a meeting with the ANCYL and Sasco on July 21, Brink refuted Ancyl claims
that "the university has done nothing about transformation". Brink yesterday
said the language policy was pragmatic, rather than dogmatic. "A regard for
Afrikaans should not be seen as a rejection of transformation." Brink
acknowledged the students' rights to protest.

 Published on the web by Cape Times on July 28, 2005.
© Cape Times 2005. All rights reserved.

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