There’s a F***-up at Wits and management is having none of it

A Wits student, Zama Mthunzi, is due to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission this week for wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Fuck White People” on campus. But as many have pointed out, the other side of the t-shirt, bearing the slogan “Being Black is Shit” has been ignored.

In response, the Wits Fees Must Fall movement launched a three-day long “Fuck” campaign on Monday in solidarity with the student.

“Fuck Patriarchy, Fuck Racism, Fuck Neoliberalism, Fuck the System that continuously reminds us of our blackness and how we are inferior to the white man. When we use strong language, out of frustration, rage, or to make a heavy impact on observers. It is still not reverse racism,” the movement said.

Wits FMF asked supporters of the campaign to bring t-shirts for painting.

Students were not reserved over the hearing.

In an interview with Micampus magazine, Mthunzi said his intention was to cause a stir, which he hoped would lead to a conversation around racism in SA to carry on beyond social media.

Wits management, however, claim Mthunzi has been up to no good. “The individual wearing the T-shirt has been associated with a number of illegal activities on Wits campuses in recent weeks, which we are investigating, in line with the University’s policies and procedures,” they said in a statement.

Wits also pays particular attention to the assertion of protesting students that black people cannot be racist.

And then proceeds to launch into a lecture of the dynamics of power relations which makes us all feel like we’re back at school.

Speaking of the protesting group, Wits management says, “Their argument is based on the fact that the structure and distribution of power in our society and the world is decidedly in favour of white people. There is a serious methodological and intellectual problem with this argument. First, it makes the assumption that power is always homogenously constructed. In fact, power is always a relational concept displayed in any actions between individuals, even if both are of the same race. It is precisely because of this unequal power relationship that we cannot extrapolate from a structural relationship of power in society and the world, and use it unthinkingly to describe the interactions between any two individuals.”

via GIPHY

Featured image by Sam Walker

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1 Comment

  1. Matthew Armstrong says

    I am privileged for growing up as a white person for sure, in ways that I probably cant understand. But I am not going to listen to some guy tell me that I dont have financial worries about putting myself through University. It is something that is on my mind 24/7. This person is raging against privilege and does not realize that he has the privilege to say inflammatory things and people will debate whether or not what he said is Racism or not. If I were to put on a shirt with the converse of his slogan on it….There would be no debate, no conversation. Rightly so too. I also find your definition of Racism on very unstable ground. This is how the UN defines Racism; Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. So by saying Fuck white people, you are condemning ALL white people. You are using the term Fuck to dismiss an ethnic group based only on their ethnicity. This sounds like Racism to me. Your argument that the slogan cant be racist because disenfranchised people cant be racist sounds to much like a chicken and egg scenario. It is a false argument. My question to all of you is this; If I as a white person have privileges that you do not, how come then I cant walk around with a T-shirt saying something equally offensive? To quickly angry words become angry actions.

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