Mcebo Dlamini, Wits’ SRC president, has responded to the statement issued by Wits Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Adam Habib in which Habib’s condemned Dlamini’s recent ‘Adolf Hitler’ comments on a Facebook post. Habib has also referred “Mcebo Dlamini for investigation to see whether disciplinary charges should be brought against him in this regard”.
The unedited version of the statement is reproduced below:
“Wits University is an anti-black space, built on the sweat and back of black mine-workers who are now long forgotten. The University remembers David Webster, Oliver Schreiner, Barney Barnato and hardly remembers Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, Nelson Mandela, Essop Pahad and many others, alive and others dead.
Wits University privileges white bodies, white thought, white culture and white feelings. In fact, Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib went out of his way campaigning that the university residents are not diverse enough without white students who mostly willingly left residents when more and more black students were allowed into the university.
Professor Habib sent me an email informing me about a formal complaint from “a student and an alumnus about your posting,” and the “charge is of course racism.” He asked that I provide a context of this posting and how I respond to the charge that the posting is racist. I wonder why the Vice-Chancellor asks me to provide context when he has already made a public apology to all white people who are offended by a post I made on my personal Facebook account and subsequently conducted media interviews and expressed his condemnation on my remarks.
Racism is the violent process of black people’s subjugation which requires institutional power to continue the subjugation, something black people in general never had even in the democratic dispensation which gave all whites executive clemency for the mass murder of black people before they even went to court. It’s utterly shocking that given the history of this country that we have not come up with a theoretically coherent view and definition of racism. Racism is not defined to avoid offending white people, so anyone can be a victim, perpetrators become victims and victims become perpetrators.
How could black people be racist? Even after years of racist violence, they met in Kliptown and declared South Africa belongs to all, black and white.
Aldolf Hitler like all whites is no friend to black people but I fail to separate him as a freak of nature from the rest of white people. White people came to Africa to enslave black people, an underestimation of 2.5 million died on their way to America. Not a single person has taken responsibility for this genocide. Black people were violently dispossessed by whites of their land, humanity and dignity through capitalist colonial, exploitation, apartheid and structural racism. No one has taken responsibility for this genocide committed by whites.
History teaches us, that our collective experience as black people with whites have always dehumanized us, robbed us of our dignity, reduced us into permanent visitors in our own land, turned us into migrant labour, perpetual beggars and living copse.
Interestingly during the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and the subsequent defacing of other colonial statures, the public discourse did not highlight the atrocities committed against black people by these white colonialists. The black people that found the statures offensive and the ideas of white superiority they represented were labeled as senseless barbaric criminals who should be arrested. The justification was that despite the white supremacist ideas which these individuals held and the violent land grabs they committed, its heritage and should be preserved. In fact, a handful of whites chained themselves onto the statures prepared to die or harm anyone who dares touch their “history.”
I wonder why Professor Habib did not send a public apology to us black people when a fourth year law student Sinethemba Memela was told by a white student “I will fuckin’ kill you, you black bitch!” when she confronted the student about mocking the accent of a black lecturer? Is it because it was a black student who was racially abused? I wonder why he has not written a public apology to our outrage at the fact that at least 30 black workers outsourced to MJL electrical, a white company by the university have not been paid in months or that they’re not allowed into the library if they want to read and not even allowed to use the public toilets they maintain?
I also wonder how whites in their collective conciseness justify their privilege generated out of the indignity, dehumanization and exploitation of black people. Do they think it’s a coincidence that wherever the white/black dynamic exists, the white is always at the top and black at the bottom or is it because they, all of them in their collective consciousness believe in their supposed superiority and hard work and that black people are simply lazy.
I fear that Wits University punishes black radical thought, anyone who dare offends its white established values or offend white Jews will be punished like the 11 heroic students who put their academic careers on the line and challenged university management for bringing its name and values into disrepute by hosting Israeli funded pianist Yossi Reshef.
– SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini.”