universities in turmoil

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

South Africa's institutions for higher learning are burning.

Several campuses exploded this week because of student unrest.

The University of Free State's Bloemfontein campus erupted in violence after a racist video made by four students from the Reitz men's residence surfaced.

It purported to show what would happen if hostels were integrated. The video shows the mock initiation of five black staff members, four women and a man.

It surfaced during an already tense situation at the university following student riots over the institution's hostel integration policy.

In one of the clips, a student is seen urinating into a bowl of food prepared for the five staff members.

Two of the students responsible for the video have been barred from campus and face criminal charges and disciplinary action.

The other two completed their studies last year when the video was shot. The students are said to be receiving death threats. Classes at the university resumed yesterday.

Disturbances at other universities:

l The Vaal University of Technology's Vanderbijlpark campus also erupted after students boycotted classes and declared the year would be a "non-academic" one if the institution's vice-chancellor, Irene Moutlana, did not resign.

lClasses at Tshwane University of Technology are expected to resume today after they were suspended a week ago following incidents in which students went on the rampage over tuition fees.

The university council met to review recommendations to end the disruption to classes.

The deadline for registrations was extended to March 7.

l Lectures at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Edgewood campus were suspended on Wednesday after students boycotted classes, demanding that those who still owed money for the previous year be allowed to register.

The protest ended after a meeting between management and student leaders agreed that more than 60 students in arrears would be accommodated.

l Less than a month ago, the Durban University of Technology was closed down for a week following violent protests by students demanding that students in arrears be allowed to register.