Check out Intervaristy News from PDBY‘s Issue 5.
Racist residence incident and rape shock SU student body
Students at SU are calling for the expulsion of Huis Marais student Theuns du Toit after he urinated in the room and on the property of another house resident, referred to as B.N. Stellenboshch’s Die Matie reported on 18 May that the university had acknowledged the “destructive, hurtful and racist incident”, and that an investigation is currently underway. SU media manager, Martin Viljoen, said in a statement that the investigation will result in a decision on du Toit’s status at the university, and that “expulsion […] [is] not excluded from the possible available options”. Du Toit apologised for what he did at an emergency house meeting on 15 May, but has not commented on the incident further. SU’s SASCO branch held protests on the university campus following the incident. Dr Choice Makhetha, senior director of the Division of Student Affairs, attended the demonstration on 16 May and said the following: “we acknowledge that you are angry. I am angry as well […]. We all agree the culture needs to change”. B.N’s father, Mkuseli Kaduka, said in a Facebook post that he is “not surprised by the behaviour but [is] disgusted by the slow reaction of those in charge to take the appropriate action against the boy”. The outcome of the investigation into du Toit is expected within the coming days.
On 17 May, a SU residence student was accused of sexual assaulting another residence student, and was subsequently arrested. Following the student’s arrest, they were released on bail. SU’s deputy vice-chancellor announced that the alleged perpetrator would be suspended from their residence, while the relevant authorities investigate.
On 20 May, SU management announced that exams will be postponed to 30 May.
The United Nations Association of South Africa women empowerment committee, with Alexia Cawood, featured an interactive artwork at SU to maintain awareness of GBV across South Africa. People participated by adding red marks in tallys to the artwork, with each tally representing survivors of GBV. Cawood said that the artwork was “completed throughout the day” and reflected that “there are people of all kinds who are affected by gender based violence”. Attendants reflected on the marks they added, saying that they “know more victims of GVB [than] [they] would like to”. Cawood asserted that “these conversations [about GBV] are crucial in our steps to combating GBV”.
University of Cape Town:
Vice-chancellor draws criticism for insensitive tweets
On 18 May, a UCT student anonymously posted a rape allegation against a UCT professor on Twitter stating that “[she] reported it to UCT for months and they failed to act/suspend [the] rapist.”
Following this post, UCT’s vice-chancellor Prof. Mamokgheti Phakeng responded to the tweet saying “This student has refused help from the university. [The victim] must say what her real agenda is”
Following this tweet, the UCT SRC has requested that the Prof. Phakeng retract her tweet as it is a “distasteful sentiment” and according to the UCT SRC secretary general the incident is an example of victim-blaming and intimidation, which is why UCT is a hotspot for GBV.
The tweet has since been removed from Prof. Phakeng’s page, and the allegation of sexual misconduct, according to UCT, is being investigated by SAPS.
UCT, with the Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI) and Iziko Museums of South Africa, are creating a new exhibition entitled Humanity. The permanent exhibition will explore evolution and the origin of humans but “without the colonial paleoanthropological lens”. Professor Rebecca Ackermann, an anthropology lecturer and member of HERI, said that the exhibition aims to “retell the human origin story in a way that dismantles notions of racial difference, superiority/inferiority, and that decentres whiteness. In this way the science can move forward as a more inclusive space, where we hope more and more South Africans feel welcome.”
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal:
An inspiring graduate
Voloshni Annamallay became UKZN’s first deaf graduate when she graduated with her honours degree in criminology and forensic studies. Annamallay is UKZN’s first graduate to obtain both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as a deaf person, and by using South African sign language as part of her academic career. Timeslive shared that Annamallay said “Yes, I am deaf and faced many challenges during my studies, but I made it through all the way from my first year of studies until now. I can do anything except hear.”
Photo: Kyle van der Merwe