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A Call to Act Against Racism and Racial Abuse

Date Released: Wed, 19 August 2009 09:04 +0200

Following the circular I issued yesterday regarding the racial abuse of Prof. Fackson Banda, I am enormously heartened by the positive response I have received from concerned members of the Rhodes community.

Staff and students have kindly expressed their support to the Banda family and to others who have suffered similar abuse but chose not to report them.
 
They have urged that beyond calling those who have witnessed the abuse to come forward, that we issue a general call to "actively act against racism"
as a way of rededicating ourselves to the values espoused in the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The messages and the calls to action are a reminder that a progressive Constitution and Bill of Rights which guarantees human dignity, human rights, equality, non-sexism and non-racialism, is in and of itself inadequate.
 
If these hard fought for values and rights are to be real and meaningful, they have to be continuously asserted. This is particularly important given the history of our country and the fact that our democracy is a mere 15 years old.

In the light of the above, I wish to make an open call to all at Rhodes to Say No to Racism, to promote awareness of racism and racial abuse, and to contribute to their eradication at Rhodes.

As part of the University's various initiatives to respect, affirm and promote human dignity, human rights, equality, non-sexism and non-racialism at Rhodes, over three days starting on Monday 24 August I respectfully call
on:

-    Lecturers to distribute the VC's Circular (of 19 August) at lectures
        and to discuss the contents and issue;
-    All Hall and residence wardens to raise the matter in halls and
        residences in appropriate ways;
-    Oppidan Union to consider appropriate way of raising the matter
        among oppidans;
-    Sports Administration, Sports Council and clubs to consider
        appropriate ways of raising the matter among sportspersons;
-    Head and mangers of Support Services Divisions to consider
        appropriate ways of raising the matter among support staff
-    SRC to issue a statement on the matter and on racism and racial
        abuse;
-    SRC and Clubs and Societies to take up the matter as they see fit;
-    WASA to take up the matter as they see fit;
-    NEHAWU and NTESU to take up the matter as they see fit;
-    Oppidan and Activate newspapers to raise the matter as they see fit;
        and
-    Rhodes Music Radio to raise the matter as they see fit.

Lastly, I call on staff and students to demonstrate their rejection of racism and racial abuse by wearing a purple colour ribbon on 24/25/26 August 2009.

The Dean of Students Office/SRC will provide materials (circulars, University policies relating to discrimination, ribbons, etc.) to support academics, support staff and students that wish to participate in this initiative.

The Dean of Students Office/SRC will also welcome student and staff volunteers to distribute materials among different constituencies on campus

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