Awakening in South Africa: Campus Unrest Expressed in the ‘Open Stellenbosch’ and ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ Protest Movements

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– 16 September 2015 –

Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqBlack students across South Africa are suddenly angry over their lack of authority over their country’s universities:

The protesters’ rallying cry is the need to “decolonize” the university. They are calling for more black faculty members, continued affirmative action policies to increase the number of black students, and a curriculum that is less Eurocentric and more African-oriented.

“It’s a combination of national, political unresolved issues and the students’ own personal search for issues of identity and meaning,” said Xolela Mangcu, an associate professor of sociology at the university and one of the national leaders in the debate over transformation in higher education. . . .

. . . Here at the University of Cape Town, widely considered the continent’s best institution of higher learning, discontent among black students had been brewing for years. But the recent protests here — as well as elsewhere in the country — were set off by an unusual act of defiance.

In March, a student threw excrement at a statue of Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist who donated land to the university. Students here and elsewhere call their movement “Rhodes Must Fall.”

The statue, at the heart of the campus, had long been the object of student protests. But things were different this time.

Dr. Max Price, the vice chancellor of the university, said he had been surprised by the enduring reaction against the statue, given that earlier demonstrations had fizzled.

“It tapped into — and a statue was a perfect way of articulating — the sense of alienation that black students feel on this campus,” he said. “The culture of the place feels white. The architecture is a European, Oxbridge architecture. Obviously, the language of instruction is English. The culture of what’s held up to be excellent universities and excellent science, and what we emulate and aspire to be, are the Ivy League universities and European universities.” . . .

. . . The movement has held together, at least for now. The students realized their first goal by pressing the university to remove the statue of Rhodes. A few days later, though, students woke up to see that a shadow had been painted on the ground, as if cast by the fallen monument.

Students in the mostly Afrikaner Stellenbosch University also demand that the traditionally Afrikaans-dominated school teach more classes in English or African languages and increase the number of black students and staff.  They’ve created Open Stellenbosch to advance these goals, and their documentary Luister shows the interviews of a bandwagon of whining students who feel oppressed by the school.

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Blacks demand more control of South African institutions, but they expect whites to keep paying for them.

Why are these protests happening now?

Young black people in South Africa born after—or shortly before—1994 see no value in the compromises that Mandela and his ANC won from F. W. de Klerk and the National Party to end white rule.  Blacks at the time got almost everything they wanted, and middle income whites got screwed, but the black leaders were wise enough to know that they needed whites to run the economy and the university system.  That truce has more or less held ever since, and South Africa remains the second most prosperous country in sub-Saharan Africa (after Nigeria).

But now young blacks demand a greater share of the economy and the university system, seeing the current system as unfair.  South Africa is an overwhelmingly black African country after all, so perhaps they have a point.  In fact, it’s a polyglot country of black, white-English, white-Afrikaner, Indian, and Coloured (Mixed-race) nations.  Blacks themselves are divided into Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and several other nations.  No single group can totally dominate the country, though the Zulu are the largest of the ethnic groups at 23%.

Whites do have a disproportionate influence over South Africa’s economy, government, and education.  It’s easy for angry South African blacks to look at whites in the same way that many of us disgruntled nationalists in the West look at Jews: as exploiters of our country who work against our own interests to advance their own.

Of course, there is a difference between what Western nationalists want and what these angry South African blacks demand: most of the blacks don’t want whites to simply leave them alone to run their countries.  Nor do they want to create their own institutions and businesses to compete against the whites’.  These activists want power and prosperity to be handed to them through imposed quotas, amounting to less whites and more blacks.  Black Economic Empowerment, which has gradually ruined South Africa’s infrastructure, doesn’t go far enough for these students.

Yet the whites must stay in South Africa because they owe blacks for apartheid.  The South African media beseeches whites to work hard and pay their taxes, and don’t worry about the attacks on their culture or the stripping of whatever influence they still have on society.  Or the robberies and the murders.

(Many white students evidently approve of these black student movements, guessing by their presence in many photos of these protests.  Do they know that they are willing accomplices to their own eradication?  Maybe they feel so guilty that they see no further value in themselves as a distinct people.  Looking closely at these whites, most of them have that dim, blank-faced and placid smile as they watch, the one that they plant on their faces in the presence of blacks to show how un-racist they are and to hide their discomfort.  I recognize it because I used to wear that placid-cow mask myself.  Meanwhile the blacks have an open intensity, either of anger or joy, in their faces.  It’s not going to be pretty for these white cattle in the coming years.)

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Dim, placid smiles on the whites’ faces to hide their discomfort. Open, intense faces, either joyful or angry, on the blacks’. Will the whites relearn their own intensity before they can be slaughtered like cattle?

South Africa’s welfare depends on white peoples’ money.  Yet, how can whites keep society moving if they can’t find employment?  How will whites remain experts in advanced fields of study if there is no room for them in the universities?  Why will they sacrifice for a country that hates them?

South Africa’s blacks seem confused on this issue.  Can they rule themselves or not?

Of course, we all know the answer to that.

If history is any guide, the country will see more student activism, more street protests from angry black workers and militant students, and more white organizations will meekly cave to black demands.  The government, pandering to this youth, will impose more social and economic justice, which will only drive more qualified whites to abandon the country or force them to join the growing number of poor whites who live in shanty towns.  Crime rates will rise in an already crime-ridden land, and attacks on whites will increase in number and ferocity as well.  All the while, the economy of South Africa will steadily weaken in proportion to its growing share of black empowerment.

And maybe through all of this, the Afrikaner people will rediscover their own nation in time to survive.

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3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.

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  2. I like low hanging fruit, so lets have some fun with the article you quote:

    ‘and a curriculum that is less Eurocentric and more African-oriented.’
    So instead of Eurocentric subjects like engineering and math, they want what? Grass hut building and lower lip extending101?

    ‘In March, a student threw excrement at a statue of Cecil Rhodes’
    Really?! Have they no self awareness!? They must know about the animal that racists often compare blacks to that also is known for flinging poop. I mean they live together.

    ‘the sense of alienation that black students feel on this campus,”’
    Is the alienation because the school is white or because they don’t belong on a deeper, maybe even an academic, level?

    ‘The architecture is a European, Oxbridge architecture.’
    As opposed to Africa’s indigenous mud and grass hut architecture?

    ‘The culture of what’s held up to be excellent universities and excellent science, and what we emulate and aspire to be, are the Ivy League universities and European universities.”’
    Again, as opposed to what, Africa’s traditional learning institutions?

    ‘A few days later, though, students woke up to see that a shadow had been painted on the ground, as if cast by the fallen monument.’
    Whoever did that is awesome, but I bet it had to be explained to a large percentage of the student body.

    I have been thinking that these statues they’re destroying here and in Africa are really just effigies. When they feel they can get away with destroying actual living, breathing white people they will.

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  3. Nicely said, Roger. Have these students thought through their arguments? I suppose their idea of an alternative to white-looking buildings might look like this:

    Seriously, I do have some sympathy for the blacks in South Africa, as the eastern portions of that country have always had a black majority. What I don’t like is their wanting to suppress and dismantle Afrikaner nationhood, including Afrikaner institutions, nor do I like their tendency to demand that others take care of them while they live ineffectively on their own, like a deadbeat brother. If they want self-determination, they should take responsibility for it. They might struggle for a while; they might not achieve what our civilization has achieved, but at least they will deserve respect.

    Another good point about the effigies. They will grow bolder in their demands for “compensation” as nobody stops them, and bolder in their violence. Ironically the weakness of the whites will enrage blacks even more.

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