Out­rage over ac­tivist’s ‘set­tler’ tweet

Cape Argus - - METRO - ATHINA MAY athina.may@inl.co.za

“ONE set­tler, one bul­let,” is the state­ment made on a UCT stu­dent’s dis­ser­ta­tion that caused an up­roar on so­cial me­dia af­ter UCT vice-chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Mamokgethi Phakeng con­grat­u­lated the pupil on the work.

Prom­i­nent #FeesMustFall ac­tivist Masixole Mlandu tweeted a few pages from his pol­i­tics Hon­ours re­search project‚ ti­tled “The Coloniser/Colonised Dialec­tic: A look into the set­tler – colo­nial­ism as a so­cio-eco­nomic or­der of South Africa”.

The ac­knowl­edge­ment sec­tion thanked his mother, ad­viser and friends, and ended thank­ing the Pan-African­ist Stu­dent Move­ment of Aza­nia for fight­ing for the eman­ci­pa­tion of black peo­ple. It con­cluded: “One set­tler, one bul­let”.

Phakeng com­mented: “Con­grat­u­la­tions. dear son, on com­plet­ing this pa­per! I would like to study it at some stage… I am proud of you!”

Back­lash fol­lowed as so­cial me­dia users in­ck­ud­ing DA Stu­dent Or­gan­i­sa­tion said they were shocked at the en­dorse­ment of the slo­gan and said they saw the com­ments as “vile, po­lar­is­ing and bor­der­ing on racism”.

Phakeng dis­tanced her­self from the threats of vi­o­lence in the dis­ser­ta­tion.

“Like the VC, UCT dis­tances it­self and we do not con­done such lan­guage… It’s di­vi­sive and, in our view, not con­struc­tive,” UCT spokesper­son Eli­jah Mo­holola said in a state­ment.

Mlandu said the com­ment in his dis­ser­ta­tion had done ex­actly what he in­tended, which was to start a con­ver­sa­tion on the set­tler in­flu­ence in so­ci­ety to­day.

“To be of­fended by ‘one set­tler, one bul­let’ is to agree that you’re a set­tler – an ex­ploiter,” he said.

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