Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria in new race row over ‘black can­cer’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

PRE­TO­RIA — A Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria stu­dent has fel­low stu­dents at the in­sti­tu­tion up in arms after call­ing some black stu­dents a can­cer to so­ci­ety and en­dors­ing US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump as “Em­peror” in a stu­dent What­sApp group.

The stu­dent has since read out an apol­ogy to the class.

The racist tirade started after a stu­dent, who has not re­sponded to News24 re­quests for com­ment, posted a mes­sage on the Third Year Civil En­gi­neer­ing stu­dents What­sApp group in Afrikaans. Other stu­dents on the group asked if all com­mu­ni­ca­tions could be in English as oth­ers did not un­der­stand Afrikaans.

The re­quest sparked a flurry of re­sponses with the stu­dent, Lourens Van Niek­erk, tak­ing it a step fur­ther.

“Omg all the blacks who agree with that potato who thinks ev­ery­thing should be English are a can­cer to this so­ci­ety. You are all ig­no­rant . . .male op­pres­sors,” Van Niek­erk posted.

“This is why Trump is the God Em­peror of mankind. He sees right through you. Stop tak­ing ev­ery­thing for granted and blam­ing whites. Our priv­i­leges have been earned. I’m over this shit. Cheerz”

At­tempts to con­tact Van Niek­erk for com­ment on Thurs­day failed.

The mes­sage irked other stu­dents in the group. The mat­ter was es­ca­lated to the head of depart­ment Pro­fes­sor Wy­nand Steyn.

How­ever, Tsholanang Ma­biletsa, who is part of the What­sApp group, said the is­sue was not treated with the se­ri­ous­ness it de­served.

“The pro­fes­sor made him apol­o­gise in class but Lourens read from a pa­per and we couldn’t even hear him. The pro­fes­sor [then re-read it on his be­half] and said who­ever is not happy can send him an e-mail,” she said.

News24 has been given a record­ing of the pro­ceed­ings of the day when he of­fered the apol­ogy.

Steyn started off by in­form­ing the stu­dents that he had held a dis­cus­sion on the is­sue seek­ing ad­vice from peo­ple on how best to han­dle the mat­ter.

“We have dis­cussed the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence and they agree that it’s se­ri­ous and un­ac­cept­able. Every­body I spoke to agrees that one should get this to con­clu­sion and we can’t leave it like that,” he told the stu­dents.

Steyn fur­ther in­di­cated that he had held dis­cus­sions with Van Niek­erk and he would apol­o­gise to the class. Van Niek­erk read out his apol­ogy but oth­ers com­plained they couldn’t hear him. — Sapa

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