Violent clashes between black and white students at UFS on Monday during a rugby game between UFS and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University have sparked public outrage. The incident put the spotlight once more on the fact that racism remains a major problem in SA.
UFS released this statement: “The senior leadership of the UFS condemns in the strongest terms possible the violence against the protestors; nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands. An urgent investigation is underway, using footage from the event, and no stone will be left unturned to identify those who acted violently, whether students or not.”
According to some students who are at the university, on Tuesday there was heavy police presence at the university.
Students are said to be removing statues across campus.
A similar incident played out at the University of Pretoria (Tuks) on Monday, with students clashing with each other and security guards over a proposed language policy change. Some declared it to be a Black Monday.
The university is in the process of deciding whether Afrikaans should be scrapped as the main medium of instruction.
According to News24, lobby group AfriForum said it will protect Afrikaans-speaking students at the university and accused the EFF of causing the disruptions on campus.
“According to AfriForum, the EFF’s fight against Afrikaans is just a next step in their campaign to disrupt the campus with a view to mobilisation and the creation of publicity for the forthcoming municipal elections,” said Kallie Kriel, AfriForum CEO.
This statement was rejected by some students, who accused AfriForum of inciting violence.
Classes at the university have been cancelled following yesterday’s disruptions.
Speaking to ANN7 on Thursday last week when the clashes at Tuks first broke out, Junior Ackotia, a member of the South African Student Congress provincial task team said this is about more than just the language policy.
“Generally in the Afrikaans classes, there are less students. If you were to do a comparison between a public school and a private school you will note that the private school classes are smaller and more intimate and there is more attention given to students. So you have the same thing in your Afrikaans classes.
“This is unfair for the students studying in the English classes who have much bigger classes and get less attention from lecturers,” he explained.