A diversity specialist and founder of Diversi-T, Terry Oakley-Smith, says that the Stellenbosch University incident that sparked outrage, after a white student was captured on video urinating on the belongings of a fellow black student, is one of the most vile and extreme forms of racism she’s seen.
Criminal charges have since been laid against the student, and the incident triggered a chain of events that led to the postponement of exams at the university.
Oakley-Smith says the challenge is teaching people about race.
“I felt deeply embarrassed and ashamed to be a white person when I saw this video. Racism is endemic in South Africa. The white on black racism I’m talking about was probably one of the most vile and extreme forms of racism. The challenge for us continues to be how do we teach white people about race, and how do we begin to change the behaviour of white people around race, “says Oakley-Smith.
Case of racism
On Tuesday, the victim of an alleged racial incident at Stellenbosch University that saw a white student urinating on his belongings opened a case of housebreaking, malicious damage to property, and racism at the local police station.
The 19-year-old, AgriScience student Babalo Ndwayana said he has been left traumatised by the ordeal.
Accompanied by the South African Students Congress (SASCO), Ndwayana has opened a case against his perpetrator.
“I am still traumatised. I cannot speak on the matter. I have opened a case of housebreaking, malicious damage to property, and racism.”
Student leaders are hoping the university will use the case to take a stand against racism.
“We stand with other students that the perpetrator be expelled. We would like to see institutional changes. It was in the media last year that De Huis Marais was to be disbanded, but it wasn’t. We are now at a place where the conversation is about whether it should be disbanded. This matter is indicative that De Huis Marais is not ready for a change in cultural transformation in Stellenbosch,” says SRC president Viwe Khobokana.
VIDEO: Students protest following Stellenbosch University racism incident: