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Stellies reiterates regret over mistaken 'blackface'

Vice Chancellor Wim de Villiers says he's not blind to the challenges facing the university.

A screengrab of an Instagram post that sparked reaction on from some social media users.
blackface,Blackface public reacts with outrage,Stellenbosch embroiled in Blackface saga
Local

CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch University vice-chancellor Wim de Villiers has reiterated the institution's regret over a case of mistaken 'blackface'.

University management came under fire for suspending two students from their residence amid allegations they wore 'blackface'.

The suspensions were lifted when it emerged they had painted their bodies purple for fancy dress and an independent commissioner is now probing the institution's handling of the matter.

In an open letter to alumni, Vice Chancellor Wim de Villiers says he's not blind to the challenges facing the university.

He writes divisions of the past have resurfaced and new ones have cropped up, with social media playing a large part.

Yesterday, some AfriForum Jeug members staged a protest against the university's treatment of the students falsely accused of wearing 'blackface' and expressed their unhappiness with De Villiers' leadership.

The demonstrators painted their faces purple, which provoked angry responses from some black students who confronted them.

STELLENBOSCH STUDENTS CLEARED FOLLOWING 'BLACKFACE' INCIDENT

The university said an investigation into the alleged ‘blackface’ incident found they had no intention of black-facing.

The institution's Equality Unity which was tasked with probing the matter recommended that the two women be reinstated into residence.

They were temporarily suspended from the Heemstede Residence.

In an apology on Facebook, one of the students explained that the costume featured purple paint and meant no offense.

Stellenbosch University's Martin Viljoen said the Equality Unity agreed with the students.

“It was not meant to cause harm to any student or staff member at the university. There was a perception possibly enhanced by the impact of social media that this was a black-face incident, but according to the recommendation this was not the case.”

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)


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