Ramaphosa laments ‘inherent racism’ in South Africa

Ramaphosa laments ‘inherent racism’ in South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has lamented the prevalence of racism in the country, 28 years into democracy. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa oxford 6 april

Ramaphosa’s comments follow an uproar across the country in the wake of an incident at Stellenbosh University where a white student urinated on books and a laptop belonging to a fellow black student.

Theuns du Toit is believed to have broken into Babalo Ndwayana’s dorm room at Huis Marais in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Only days later, Maties was rocked by yet another allegation of racism. 

It alleged a female student was also on the receiving end of racist remarks at the Law Dance earlier this month.  

The university is investigating both incidents

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa raised concern about the spike in racist incidents in schools. 

“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 every-day life in South Africa. The sooner we recognise that reality, the sooner we can change it. 

“If we are going to cross these bridges, we need to understand what is causing racist attitudes to flourish in our schools and places of higher learning. We need to understand what kind of institutional cultures contribute to racism in the workplace, in social organisations and in communities,” Ramaphosa added. 

Ramaphosa believes there is a shortage of dialogue.  

“Greater emphasis should be placed on inculcating tolerance and respect for diversity in the classroom from a young age. Parents should be part of this effort because the reality is that racist, chauvinistic and sexist attitudes among the younger generation are often a reflection of what they observe and learn from their parents and older relatives at home.

“This doesn’t only apply to overt racism in schools, workplaces and places of higher learning, but to all of society. Just as racists must be held accountable for their actions, all sectors of society, including business, must advance transformation.

“Ending racism is not just about changing attitudes; it is also about changing the material conditions that still today separate black and white South Africans.”

Ramaphosa also called on the student community Stellenbosh University to rally together in the fight against racism. 

“They must roundly reject what has happened and express their determination to achieve a learning environment free of bigotry, racism and chauvinism and embrace a non-racial future for Stellenbosch University. By so doing they will set the standard for us all.”


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