[lg policy] South Africa: Transformation spotlight on Stellenbosch

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Apr 18 14:51:48 UTC 2015

 Transformation spotlight on Stellenbosch April 17 2015 at 03:48pm
By Carlo Petersen  Comment on this story
Copy of CT_stell0] INDEPENDENT MEDIA The transformation spotlight has
turned to Stellenbosch University (SU), where a new movement has emerged to
tackle institutionalised racism at the university.

Cape Town - The transformation spotlight has turned to Stellenbosch
University (SU), where a new movement has emerged to tackle
“institutionalised racism” at the university.

Open Stellenbosch (OS) - a group of students, staff and faculty workers
from the university - held an open discussion on campus on Wednesday to
highlight racial exclusion and the university’s language policy.

“The current language policy at Stellenbosch University belies the
university’s own vision statement in so far as it excludes many students by
privileging the Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction.

“We further hold that this privileging of Afrikaans as a medium of
instruction translates itself to a privileging beyond the classroom and
simply communication.

“It extends into the social fabric of our residences and other shared
spaces, where black people are consequently maligned,” said OS spokesman
Lwazi Pakade.

Pakade said OS was formed recently due to a lack of action on the part of
university management in relation to incidents of racial assault and
ongoing racism at the university and in the town.
[image: Copy of ca p4 Verwoerd Plague _0808] The Verwoerd plague in the
department of Accounting and Stats building at Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Cindy Waxa CAPE ARGUS

SU spokesman Martin Viljoen admitted that the university’s campus culture
had been unwelcoming in the past, but management has since moved to remedy

“The management of Stellenbosch is wholeheartedly committed to
transformation and recognises the need to accelerate and deepen the process
of systemic transformation.

The university is up front about this and has stated that progress has been
made with regard to access and success, institutional language flexibility,
integration, welcoming practices and student support, but challenges with
regard to high-level representation and perceptions of the institutional
culture remain,” he said.

Pakade said OS had been inspired by the Rhodes Must Fall movement, a
similar organisation at UCT, which inspired the recent removal of a statue
of Cecil John Rhodes from that campus after highlighting transformation
problems at the university.

“Taking the language policy as a point of departure, we intend to reframe
discussions about transformation to include aspects of institutionalised
racism, as well as acknowledging the flagrant racism which is the result
both of the legacies of apartheid as well as colonialism.

“We insist on purging the oppressive remnants of apartheid from this
institution,” Pakade said.

Viljoen said the SU council had approved a new language policy in November
last year, offering English as a language of tuition the same status as
Afrikaans at the university.

Meanwhile, the UCT council has decided to apply for the permanent removal
of the Rhodes statue from the campus.

The university also announced, following a council meeting on Wednesday
night, that public consultation for the permanent removal of the statue had

UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said Heritage Western Cape had given the
university an emergency permit for the temporary removal and safekeeping of
the statue on March 31. She said the application process includes a
statutory assessment of the history, context and heritage significance of
the statue.

Comments for the public process can be sent to rhodes.statue at chand.co.za

carlo.petersen at inl.co.za


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