The South African government on Thursday condemned acts of racism at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape province.
Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele condemned an incident at Stellenbosch University where a white student was captured in a video degrading and humiliating a first-year black student by urinating on his study material, including his brand-new laptop computer.
The incident caused widespread anger that such acts could still be taking place in South Africa, a country with a bitter past of racial injustice and discrimination.
“These deplorable acts go against the constitutional values on which our democratic country was founded, which include human dignity, non-racialism, non-sexism, social justice, equity and respect,” Gungubele said.
Speaking to reporters during a post-cabinet briefing, the minister urged South Africans to “work together to expose racism wherever it is treated as the norm and send a clear message that there is no space for it in our democratic country.”
“Parents are urged to teach children to reject racism and embrace diversity, as part of our concerted drive to promote nation-building and social cohesion,” Gungubele said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa used his weekly newsletter to the nation on Monday to speak out against racism which is still part of the daily South African experience.
Ramaphosa said it was more troubling that such incidents were happening at schools and places of higher learning, noting that a number of the people involved were born after the end of apartheid.
“While the incident at the University of Stellenbosch may seem like an aberration – an appalling act that has been roundly condemned – the truth is that racism is still a feature of everyday life in South Africa,” the president said.