Putting veil over truth

PERHAPS University of Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen has pretensions of being the Nelson Mandela of higher education.

PERHAPS University of Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen has pretensions of being the Nelson Mandela of higher education.

Jansen last weekend announced that the four young men who made black women staff at the university eat and drink food the boys had urinated on would be allowed back to the university to resume their studies if they so wished.

In his wisdom, Jansen said racism was not personal but institutional. He called his action a "toenadering" and an attempt at building bridges across the university community.

Let it be clear that we reject Jansen's thinking and action.

Jansen's action betrays the other institutional lie, that racial reconciliation in South Africa must happen at the expense of black people and their lived experiences.

In the quest for a post-racial South Africa, the evil that is racism has been reduced to a figment of black people's imaginations. The self-ordained prophets of reconciliation demonise anyone who calls for meaningful engagement with issues of white racism rather than the preferred style of wishing it away as Jansen has.

It is quite possible that as the university's first black vice-chancellor Jansen wants to make a grand entry into the hearts of the conservatives within the university community. As has become the norm in our country, he thought nothing of delegitimising the lived reality of black people to achieve his goal.

Peace and harmony cannot be achieved by sweeping realities under the carpet.

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