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There have been colourful responses to Red October a week after groups of people took to the streets protesting against “white genocide”.
The SACP claimed the right wing had stolen its campaign, and UCT student leaders gathered on Tuesday to debate crime and race – complete with the releasing of multicoloured balloons.
Markus Trengove, president of Sasco UCT and head of the UCT Black Law Students Forum, said the Red October march had put him in a tight spot. “As an Afrikaans man, this puts me in a dilemma,” he said.
“Do I let Steve Hofmeyr speak on my behalf, or do I forgo my need for the comfort of culture?”
Organising marches to speak for a particular race or culture only served to divide people. “Culture is not about protecting what is yours, but celebrating what is common to all of us,” he said.
Khotsi Chikane, SRC vice-president internal, grew up in Soweto, but moved to a gated community in a wealthy suburb. The problem started, he said, with walls and security guards: “When you start thinking of ways to socially exclude yourself from ‘the other’. That’s what I believe the root cause of crime is – the fear of letting ‘the other’ into your space.”
Dan Corder of Inkulu Free Heid said crime was a class problem. “They are not targeted because of their race but because they are lucky enough to have wealth,” he said to applause.
The SACP said on Monday it was disgusted by the “right-wing theft” of Red October, which is traditionally a celebration of the 1917 Socialist revolution in Russia.
Spokesman Alex Mashilo said: “We call on these racists to desist from attempts to steal our highly successful Red October campaign that has been waged by the SACP over the past 14 years.”
The marchers had waved South Africa’s old flag and demanded an end to “white genocide” – which existed only as a “figment of their racist imagination”, he said.