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VC to speak at University of Fort Hare

Date Released: Fri, 23 November 2012 16:00 +0200

Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat will speak about his new book The Forgotten People: Political Banishment under apartheid at the ABC Hall, University of Fort Hare East London Campus as part of the Dispatch Dialogues, on Monday 26 November.

The Dispatch Dialogues are a forum to discuss issues of public interest initiated by the Daily Dispatch newspaper in partnership with the University of Fort Hare. .

In Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth published in 2001, Dumisa Ntsebeza and Terry Bell highlighted the fact that ‘like so much of South Africa’s recent brutal history, we shall probably never know exactly how many people were banished and what happened to all of them’.

The Forgotten People answers many questions about banishment and shines a bright and welcome light on a largely hidden and unknown part of our ‘brutal history’.

It shows how Apartheid’s political opponents from rural areas were condemned to the living hell of banishment: a weapon used to expel rural opponents to distant and often arid and desolate places for unlimited periods.

Rural opponents were plucked from their families and communities and cast, in the late Helen Joseph’s words, ‘into the most abandoned parts of the country, there to live, perhaps to die, to suffer and starve, or to stretch out a survival by poorly paid labour, if and when they could get it.’

As strangers in strange areas, they could not speak the local language, and often had little in common with the locals and even less in common with those under whose surveillance they fell. Their existence became ‘a slow torture of the soul’ and a kind of social death.

Those who were banished had no trial in court. ‘They were neither charged nor told of the nature of their crimes…They were given no opportunity to defend themselves, yet they were deprived of their liberty, of their homes. They were punished within the law, but outside justice.’

Dr Badat has authored Black Student Politics, Higher Education and Apartheid: From SASO to SANSCO, 1968-1990 and Black Man, You are on Your Own; is co-author of National Policy and Regional Response in South African Higher Education and co-editor of Apartheid Education and Popular Struggle in South Africa.

 For Dialogue livestream broadcast visit: www.dispatch.co.za and Twitter: www.twitter.com/dispatchnowThe Forgotten People

Photo by Sara Garrun