Besieged Stellenbosch University appoints inquiry into racism

Retired Justice Sisi Khampepe

Retired Justice Sisi Khampepe

Published Jun 6, 2022


Cape Town - Stellenbosch University has taken a step in the right direction with an independent commission of inquiry into allegations of racism to be headed by retired Justice Sisi Khampepe.

This is the view of one of the institution’s black female ex-employees who resigned citing entrenched and institutionalised racism after being undermined by a white contractor.

She said she felt victimised and made to explain her story over and over again while the university appeared to be siding with the white contractor on a technicality

The establishment of the inquiry comes after white student, Theuns du Toit was filmed peeing on fellow student Babalo Ndwayana’s study material and when asked about his action replied: “It’s a white boy thing”.

SU vice-chancellor and rector Wim de Villiers Justice Khampepe will make recommendations to the rector to assist SU in improving its culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The commission will consider recent incidents of racism, the one at Huis Marais and the Faculty of Law’s Law Dance, the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the university campus culture.

The former employee who asked to remain anonymous on the basis of safety said an independent inquiry was an absolute must for the institution as the number of race-related incidents increased in recent times.

“The exclusiveness, and the clicky nature, the fact that the Stellenboschians live in a bubble is the problem. Change is not impossible if one wants to change, if not, everything the institution is working towards runs the risk of being nothing but window dressing in the future.

“I am not suggesting that there are not folks fervently toiling towards a more harmonious environment, but the majority are driven by a false need or desire to preserve their race, whiteness, and culture by way of excluding others. This attitude feeds into the issue of other-ing. I am no Sociologist, but in my view the inability to assimilate boils down to a few simple factors which are, being poorly socialised as a result of upbringing and the influence of parental figures and their predecessors, a false sense of superiority facilitated by conversations in private pertaining to the controversial subject of Eugenics.

“If you believe that you are superior by default, you will have a hard time seeing other race groups as an equal. I am in no way suggesting that the institution promotes Eugenics, it is my testimony that there is a common belief amongst most Afrikaners in Stellenbosch that they are inherently superior,” she said.

Cape Times