[lg policy] South Africa: Assaulted, doused in beer and called a k****r
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Mon Aug 31 14:22:11 UTC 2015
Assaulted, doused in beer and called a k****r 2015-08-31 10:04
[image: Open Stellenbosch members marching. Picture: Edrea du Toit]
Open Stellenbosch members marching. Picture: Edrea du Toit
Being black at Stellenbosch University could get you assaulted, called a
k****r or a baboon, and get you doused in beer for dancing with a white
These experiences are revealed in the film Luister (Listen), which has gone
viral thanks to Open Stellenbosch.
The video, made by young film makers, records black students’ experiences
which, they say, are caused by the university’s institutionalised racism
and language policies.
One of the students in the video said a white student hurled a glass of
beer in his face because he danced with a white woman.
“We were in a club and I was dancing with a white lady, who was friendly.
When we were done dancing, I went to sit down. There was a group of white
guys. One of them took a glass full of beer and threw it in my face. They
thought I was having an affair with her … How can a black guy have an
affair with a white girl? Sometimes they ask us, what are you doing here …
so what are we doing in an Afrikaner institution?”
The student, whose identity was masked, said he reported the matter to
university management and nothing was done.
Another student, also unnamed, recalled a racist encounter.
“I went to have a beer with mates. I had already ordered my beer and I went
upstairs to the bathroom. As I was coming downstairs, there was a couple of
drunk white students. And one of them called me k****r. I got into an
altercation with them and the bouncers pulled me out first because I am
Mohammad Shabangu, one of the founders of Open Stellenbosch – who grew up
in Pretoria and attended an Afrikaans primary school – said he had never
seen such naked racism as he had witnessed in Stellenbosch.
“This place is suffocating. You can’t walk here without feeling you’re a
problem. There are restaurants which have quotas and don’t allow in more
than five black people at a time. Some restaurants employ white people
only. Heaven forbid that white people will be touched by blacks.”
All six of the apartheid prime ministers visited the university, either as
students or as professors.
“The library has the apartheid flag. It is also hanging in every guesthouse
and backpackers’ lodge. No self-respecting black person can live here and
be comfortable. You can’t survive here, and the only way to do so is to
University management have ignored students’ reports of racism, he insists.
“You end up thinking that you are the problem. But when you speak to black
people, you find that you are all going through the same thing.”
Many students on Luister complained about the university’s language policy.
Shabangu argues that while English and Afrikaans have equal status,
Afrikaans is most lecturers’ default language.
“We are calling for the reformation of the language policy. It privileges
Afrikaans people and is committed to safe-guarding their culture. Most
classes are in Afrikaans.”
The institution uses translation devices, but black students complain these
are not effective because they have to listen to the lecturer and the
translator simultaneously. The translators are not academics and often
struggle to translate Afrikaans academic jargon into English
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