‘UCT protests have nothing to do with #FeesMustFall‚’ says student attacked by stick-wielding activist

22 September 2016 - 15:51 By Deneesha Pillay


The final-year law student whose phone was smacked from his hand by a stick-wielding Ntokozo Qwabe in a lecture hall at the University of Cape Town (UCT) says he was subjected to a torrent of racist rhetoric. Speaking to TMG Digital on Thursday‚ the student‚ who hails from Johannesburg‚ said he had been advised to lay charges but had decided instead to put the drama behind him and focus on passing his exams.The tense confrontation on Tuesday‚ involving close to 50 students demanding access to free tertiary education‚ has‚ however‚ left the student rattled and he asked not to be identified for fear of being targeted. He has even withdrawn from social media.“I wasn’t injured. To be honest‚ it’s a month until exams‚ I was racially abused and intimidated … it’s a month to exams‚ I just need to pass‚” he said.“It was our final-year law lecture‚ and it’s a month until exams‚ so lots of students just want to study and keep the university open‚ especially because lots of students rely on the library and access to materials in the library to study.”The law students were between two lectures and were waiting for their last lecture of the day to commence.“About 40 to 50 students barged in and they demanded that all of the students that were sitting down leave‚ and obviously many students did not want to leave because we wanted the lecture to carry on - these were students from all races.“When we didn’t leave‚ the protesting students started intimidating students to leave the venue. And many other students … started filming.“I started filming because there was lots of racist rhetoric going around‚ and whilst I was filming one lady started hitting me with a bottle and then Ntokozo‚ who was standing behind me‚ was shouting‚ ‘Settlers must leave‚ they must f*** off’‚ as can be seen in the video.“I didn’t give in because I was within my right to film protesters‚ especially when they barge into a lecture venue‚” he said.“So I kept on recording it. He then told me not to record. I didn’t say anything‚ I just kept on recording it‚” he added.Whilst being subjected to “racist chanting”‚ Qwabe hit his cellphone out of his hand with a stick.“I then picked up my phone and tried to carry on recording. He then advanced towards me in a very intimidating manner and that’s when I decided that it’s best that I don’t carry on recording.“He then carried on going at me‚ and that’s when I decided to make a peaceful gesture and folded my arms.“Then some other students from the protest came towards me‚ and that’s when I decided to put my hands up to show them that I wasn’t interested in getting involved in anything.“Ntokozo was then taken away by one student‚ and then another student came and pushed me‚ and that’s when a lot of students‚ especially the black students in our class‚ came to support me and told me to move away‚” he explained.Ironically‚ the student supported the #FeesMustFall protests in 2015.“Free education‚ I feel‚ is an attainable goal‚ and for me that is a righteous movement to support. And I did support it last year‚ and I will continue to support it.“However‚ my experience in that lecture venue‚ it had nothing to do with #FeesMustFall. I didn’t heard Fees Must Fall chanted once during that lecture‚” he said.Qwabe‚ who previously also caused a stir by trying to have a statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed from Oxford University‚ was unrepentant over the stick-wielding incident.Qwabe posted on his Facebook page that it was: “NOT true that I 'assaulted' and 'whipped with a stick' a white student during our shutdown of the arrogant UCT Law Faculty yesterday!“Although I wish I'd actually not been a good law abiding citizen & whipped the white apartheid settler colonial entitlement out of the bastard - who continued to video record us without our consent - this is not what happened as the media is reporting.”Qwabe added that‚ when the student refused to comply‚ he used his “protest stick” which he carries around for “cultural purposes” to push the phone out of the student’s hand.“He picked it up and continued to video‚ at which point I came closer to him and told him to switch it the f*** off.“He then kindly put it back onto his pocket and that was that‚” the post said."Otherwise‚ people must please stop annoying us about this petty nonissue invented by the media. While word has it that the instruction to video record us came from the Dean of Law (a whole womxn of colour!)‚ we are klear that we will not be subjected to such white violence."There is no story here‚ and I'm definitely not about to further engage the white media's meek attempts to found one! If anything‚ we should put the white media on perpetual voicemail & not take anything it says on the student movement seriously! Rather rely on firsthand accounts of those on the ground. Otherwise bye‚" Qwabe added.Qwabe had also made headlines when he posted a message on Facebook about a tipping incident involving a white waitress.He explained how‚ when Ashleigh Schultz gave him his bill‚ he refused to tip her‚ instead writing on the slip: “We will give tip when you return the land.”He went on to detail how the waitress began crying. “She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears.” A fund-raising campaign collected money for the waitress‚ which created massive debate on social media.- TMG Digital

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