UCT promises action over offensive poster on campus

17 February 2019 - 09:37 By timeslive
University of Cape Town. File photo
University of Cape Town. File photo
Image: UCT Student @UCTStudent via Twitter

The University of Cape Town has distanced itself from a Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) poster, after a photograph of it was shared on social media.

Virologist Ed Rybicki spotted the poster, which advocates anti-white sentiment. He tagged the university, commenting: "An example of the kind of elevated academic discourse at our university. In the window of the student cafeteria next to the courtyard in the faculty of health sciences."

UCT replied, stating it was not aware of the poster.

"The university distances itself from the language used in this poster and will get the relevant department to take appropriate action on this matter," UCT pledged.

Former students of the respected and liberal university shared their dismay at the rhetoric espoused by the poster.

"Sad after so many 'white' people campaigned or protested to allow people of other races to go to UCT. History so easily forgotten!" Eddie de Jager‏ @WarbirdSA tweeted.

It is a phrase that Pasma uses unapologetically, including when UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng controversially praised a student on Twitter who wrote "One Settler, One Bullet!" in the acknowledgements of his unmarked honours research project late last year.

Phakeng said she had intended to congratulate the student on his work, not the slogan. Nevertheless, she said the student "has a right to express his views and others have a right to express their differing views".

"South African courts have not made a finding about whether the slogan is hate speech."

Phakeng said UCT’s executive believed the slogan might lead to a "divisive, hostile and intimidating environment".

The university's leadership felt: "The slogan may create negativity and affirms division. While political slogans such as this may have the potential to heighten debate about our difficult segregated past, they obscure our vision of being an inclusive university."