'I wasn't raised to remain silent,' says student who picked up EFF rubbish

05 March 2019 - 10:27 By Nico Gous
University of the Free State student Eckhard Binding carries on throwing rubbish in a bin as two women wearing EFF T-shirts throw it out on Friday, March 1 2019, on the Bloemfontein campus.
University of the Free State student Eckhard Binding carries on throwing rubbish in a bin as two women wearing EFF T-shirts throw it out on Friday, March 1 2019, on the Bloemfontein campus.
Image: Screengrab from Twitter/@nonnystoned

"I wasn't raised to remain silent. It's my best and my worst quality."

These were the words of Eckhard Binding, 21, speaking to TimesLIVE on Tuesday after a video of him picking up rubbish, while two women wearing EFF shirts threw it back on the ground, went viral.

The footage was filmed on the University of the Free State's (UFS's) Bloemfontein campus last Friday.

"I was so angry and annoyed. I don't know why, but these things affect me, so I just went and said: 'You know what, I'm going to start cleaning up. Maybe people will join me'."

Binding is a third-year BCom student. He was cleaning up rubbish for about 30 minutes after protesters had made their way around campus littering, breaking chairs and tipping over tables.

"There is a large part of the incident which you don't see, because that video was taken at the very end, with the last pieces of rubbish I wanted to throw away," said Binding.

"It wasn't for the fame or anything like that. I just feel like I have to make a difference and everyone has to make a difference."

Lectures were disrupted on Thursday after outsourced workers embarked on an unprotected strike over insourcing at the university.

UFS spokesperson Lacea Loader said earlier that some students and student organisations had joined in the strike and that security was monitoring the situation on campus.

Near the end of the video, a fellow student approaches and speaks to Binding.

"He told me it's not worth it and, quite honestly, I feel that way... No one is helping you, so you're man alone against a group of people, but I just continued," said Binding.

"What I'm cleaning there [on the video] was my very last. If there was a longer version of the video, you'll see me walking away and throwing the rubbish in another bin."

Some people on social media offered to raise money to pay for Binding's tuition, donate money or start a possible crowdfunding campaign. But Binding said he would like to start an NGO called #StartTalkingSA.

"We, as South Africans, have to start talking about the things that are important."


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