The floor comprised of students from different faculties. A second-year BA Law student differentiated between two types of protests, namely peaceful and violent. He said that protests become violent when peoples’ voices are no longer listened to and the situation at hand becomes desperate. However, the facilitators noted that the term “peaceful protest” is inherently problematic, as protests are by nature a means to disrupt. Another student noted that the focus of the question on protest action on campus should not be whether they are violent or not, but on the level of violence: “The argument should be on the levels of violence and how they manifest … a protest has to be a violent act for it to attract enough [attention] onto that issue,” the student said. The general consensus from the floor was that the protests could have been prevented, provided university management had formally addressed the matter timeously. “Their only answer was to add more security. Instead of addressing the real issue, they just chose to BandAid it,” a second-year BCom Law student said.

A third-year education student said that, in terms of understanding the point of the protests, “It’s not only [some] whites that don’t understand, [but] a huge number of privileged black people that do not understand the point of the protests … black privileged.” Following this, the “black privileged” were defined by the floor as the merger of economic assistance and the gatekeepers of white privilege.

The second session focused on the Colourblind campaign, which was met with discontent from the floor. The problem, according to Mailula, is that the campaign delegitimises the call to have one medium of instruction by ignoring the problems raised by the students. According to the students, the Colourblind campaign is a form of institutional racism. The floor agreed that there is a dire need for people to be made conscious of the structural and social inequalities that exist in society, rather than turn a blind eye to them.

 

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