Oct 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

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Maties racism inquiry a ‘noble idea’, says father of targeted student

The father of Stellenbosch University student who was the target of a racist incident says the proposed commission of inquiry into racism at the institution is a “noble idea”.

Mkhuseli Kaduka, whose son Babalo Ndwayana returned to the family home in the Eastern Cape after fellow student Theuns du Toit urinated on his laptop and other belongings, saying he hoped for “a lasting change in the systematic racism that appears to be happening there”.

< Kaduka added, "I think such an investigation will help other students not experience what my son went through. What happened to him shouldn't happen to any other child again. So we're looking for something permanent and lasting.”

The university said this week it will appoint a judge to lead the investigation, which follows a nationwide outcry over the incident in the early hours of this morning 15 May at the Huis Marais residence.

Du Toit faces disciplinary proceedings, but he will be allowed to sit his first semester exams next week.

University spokesman Martin Viljoen said Du Toit has been given 10 working days to respond to the charges he is facing, after which the hearing will be scheduled.< /p>

“The dates set for hearings take into account the academic duties of all students, including examinations. All cases are confidential and a decision on whether to publish the results can be made by the central Disciplinary Committee,” he said.

Viljoen said the commission of inquiry will be external and independent. “We plan to conduct an investigation into racist incidents to report and make recommendations to improve a culture of diversity, justice and inclusion.

” This may include a review of our policies, operating procedures and responses to identify any gaps that may exist.

“In addition, Stellenbosch University is establishing a student and staff reporting hotline Report actions or violations. These services are in addition to the equality body’s existing online, email and walk-in reporting mechanisms.”

Kaduka said he was hopeful after meeting university officials Monday that “we could be on the way to changing the racist culture” in Stellenbosch.

“They assured me that they will have a commission of inquiry and a hotline as many people are afraid of to report such incidents. They also promised to introduce new subjects into their curriculum dealing with race relations. They said they will also reconsider their language policy.”

Kaduka said,his son is resting at the family home in Mdantsane before taking the exams next week.” We have to surround him with a lot of support until he gets a sense of normality,” he said.

“He will start counseling from next week. He may seem unfazed at the moment, but we know there are scars that are not visible.”

Student Representation Council (SRC) Chair Viwe Kobokana said although the student body of the proposals, including the commission of inquiry, have not “deal with the essentials” and will do so after the exams.

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