The panel included Terblanche Delport, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at UP, writer and journalist Gillian Schutte, Quraysha Ismail Sooliman from the South African Council for Muslim Women, Jaco Oelofse, a UP humanities student and executive member of Sasco at UP, and Alfred Moraka, a UP law student.

The panel mainly discussed how to deal with racism in a university environment, curriculum transformation and how to improve student engagement in the discourse on racism at UP.

Many concerns were raised about the lack of student involvement in discussions about racism at UP. Moraka said that this is because universities have become factories that focus only on producing graduates who are ready to enter the corporate world instead of focusing on graduates who can drive social change. Delport said that many lecturers attempt to discuss the issue in class, but students are not interested in engaging in the discussion.

“To change discourse, bold academics are needed to challenge and change the media and institutions where they work”, said Schutte. She added that the media has perpetuated racism by presenting a dehumanised view of black people.

Moraka said that black people need to become more empowered to better deal with racism. “They need to be taught about white supremacy, they need to learn about black consciousness and they need to reclaim their freedom and their humanity,” he said.

Do you think students are hesitant to engage in discourse about racism at UP? Tweet us your views (@perdebynews) or comment on our Facebook page.

Photos: Gloria Mbogoma

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