Open Stellenbosch Press Release:
The response to the documentary entitled Luister has been phenomenal. The documentary portrays the experiences of 32 black students and a lecturer at Stellenbosch University who are being subjected to the apartheid culture of Stellenbosch University and the greater Stellenbosch town. We are grateful to all South Africans who have taken the time to watch the video. We especially thank those who have supported us and our fight against apartheid culture at Stellenbosch.
We also are hopeful that many people are now beginning to see that the language policy, despite its stated intentions, safeguards Afikaans and Afrikaner culture at the expense of black people. For the last five months Open Stellenbosch has been trying to get the university management, particularly the Vice Chancellor Wim de Villiers, to heed our demands as they relate to the language policy. Management has refused to meet with us as a collective, and has instead prioritised problematic groups such as Afriforum.
In July, management issued a statement in which the Vice Chancellor committed himself to the implementation and “possible acceleration” of the existing language policy. Management further asserted that “we shall not engage in an ideological language debate, irrespective of whether pro- or anti-Afrikaans”. As the testimonies in Luister demonstrate, the culture of Apartheid is alive and well at Stellenbosch, both the town and the university.
We wish to reiterate that the only way Stellenbosch will transform is by changing its language policy, which we contend must be replaced with a policy that reflects the spirit of diversity as espoused by the constitution and the Bill of Rights. To that extent, no student should be forced to learn in Afrikaans, and all classes must be available in English.
We therefore call on your support as we march in Stellenbosch, to hand over a memorandum demanding that management convene an emergency council meeting in light of its failure to address transformation adequately. Following the release of Luister, Stellenbosch management has been called to appear in parliament to account for the state of affairs at the institution. This meeting also coincides with our march, which makes our protest that much more pivotal.
For those who are unable to attend, we ask that you please hold SOLIDARITY DEMONSTRATIONS that coincide with our September 1st march. In your various places of learning, work and worship, please organise solidarity meetings in which you gather to show support. Please hold up posters which read: “I Am Against Apartheid Culture in Stellenbosch University. #Luister”. The running hashtag is #Luister.
For those in institutions of higher learning, your demonstrations could be intended to call for the management at your own universities to write a supporting letter condemning the institutionalised racism at Stellenbosch in the strongest possible terms. The condemnation should include the language policy as well as the specious and ultimately racist strategies that SU management has vowed to keep intact.
Venue: Stellenbosch Rooiplein (With a March into the town)
Date: 01 September 2015
Time: 12:30 – 14:00
As a strictly non-partisan collective, we welcome donations of any kind from any individuals or organisations that are sympathetic to our plight and from those who are anti-racism. We therefore do not accept party politics that seek to eclipse the legitimate concerns of black students at Stellenbosch University.
For any queries please contact:
Sikhulekile Duma – 061 116 1995
Mohammed Shabangu- 072 269 9102
Kile Wotshela – 078 592 7594
Bank Name: First National Bank FNB
Account Number: 62539960618
Branch Code: 250655