Transformation: Vibrant student spaces needed

13 April 2015 | Story by Newsroom
Rhodes is removed from its plinth on upper campus, and students rise to take his place. Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht.
Rhodes is removed from its plinth on upper campus, and students rise to take his place. Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht.

In the aftermath of the Rhodes statue's removal comes a signed statement expressing concern regarding UCT management's recent response to the Rhodes Must Fall student campaign and calling for more spaces in which students can talk and reflect on transformation transparently.

A few days ago a world historical event took place on UCT campus as the Rhodes statue fell and people across the globe watched. All university stakeholders have noted that the statue's fall was one symbolic part of the work of transformation that remains to be done at UCT. By the university's own admission, the Rhodes Must Fall movement has made a singular contribution to the statue's descent and has been engaging with questions of transformation at UCT with vigour, acuity and profundity.

The movement has asked what it means to be a decolonised university in Africa and the global south, what it means for a student-led movement to be cognisant of welfare and well-being of its workers and staff, and just as importantly what it means for a student movement to be inclusive and reflective about its gender politics. We believe that the UCT community should be proud that it has seen the emergence of a creative, generative student-led movement and look forward to the positive contribution it can make to questions of higher learning regionally and nationally.

We therefore urge the management to step back from the divisive stance it has taken towards the student movement. A policy of criminalisation, of bearing down with punitive power on students, staff and faculty associated with the Rhodes Must Fall movement might find the university management on the wrong side of history and its best possibilities.

We also hope that UCT leadership will recognise the need for a vibrant student space where students come together, organise themselves, passionately iterate their concerns, thoughtfully reflect on them and enliven the issue of transformation in a transparent manner at the heart of UCT. Transformation at UCT might then gain an altogether new kind of democratic legitimacy.


  1. Kate C. Abney, PhD, Lecturer, University of Cape Town (UCT)
  2. Donna Andrews, activist, Rita Edwards Collective
  3. Mercia Andrews, Director, Trust for Community Outreach and Education
  4. Seyi Amosun, Professor in Physiotherapy, UCT
  5. Brian Ashley, Director, Alternative Information and Development Centre
  6. Umesh Bawa, University of the Western Cape
  7. Heike Becker, Professor of Anthropology, University of the Western Cape
  8. Jane Bennett, Associate Professor, African Gender Institute, UCT
  9. Floretta Boonzaier, Associate Professor in Psychology, UCT
  10. Dr Barbara Boswell, Project Officer, Young Women's Leadership Project, African Gender Institute, UCT
  11. Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Chair of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  12. Ms Edwina Brooks, Director Student Development, Department of Student Affairs, UCT
  13. Andre Bruce, Cape Town
  14. Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Research Fellow, Archive and Public Culture Initiative, UCT
  15. Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Gallatin School & Department of Media, Culture and Communication (MCC), NYU
  16. Dr Ruchi Chaturvedi, Lecturer in Sociology, UCT
  17. Grieve Chelwa, PhD Candidate, School of Economics, UCT
  18. Shine Choi, Korea Foundation Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
  19. Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi, PhD., Lecturer, Department of English, UCT
  20. Carina Conradie, UCT Alumnus
  21. David Cooper, Emeritus Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UCT
  22. Linda Cooper, School of Education, UCT
  23. Imraan Coovadia, Associate Professor, English Language and Literature, UCT
  24. Emma Daitz, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology UCT
  25. Collet Dandara, Associate Professor, Human Genetics, UCT
  26. Sean Daniels, Cape Town
  27. Jacques MF Depelchin, historian, retired, Salvador/Bahia-Berkeley
  28. Dr Garrey Dennie, Associate Professor, Department of History, St Mary's College of Maryland
  29. Kelsey Draper, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, UCT
  30. Hannah du Plessis, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and School of Visual Arts, NYC
  31. Meryl Du Plessis, Lecturer, Public Law, UCT
  32. Tebogo Fafudi, UCT Alumnus
  33. Judy Favish, Director, Institutional Planning, UCT
  34. Loretta Feris, Professor of Law, UCT
  35. David Gadd, Professor, Director, Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Manchester
  36. Roshan Galvan, Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, UCT
  37. Harry Garuba, Director, School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology & Linguistics
  38. Lindie Gayiza, Department of Student Affairs, UCT
  39. Netsanet Gebremichael, PhD Candidate at Makerere Institute of Social Research
  40. Kelly Gillespie - Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand
  41. Pumla Dineo Gqola, Associate Professor, African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand
  42. Dr Jonathan Grossman Senior Lecturer Sociology, UCT
  43. Heidi Grunebaum, Senior Researcher, Centre for Humanities Research, UWC
  44. Carolyn Hamilton, NRF Research Chair on Archive and Public Culture, UCT
  45. Adam Haupt, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies, UCT
  46. Dr. Derrick Higginbotham, Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, UCT
  47. Fadly Isaacs, Lecturer Department of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, UCT
  48. Sean Jacobs, Assistant Professor, International Affairs, The New School, New York
  49. Tsitsi Jaji, Assistant Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
  50. Shamil Jeppie, Associate Professor Historical Studies, UCT
  51. Melanie Judge, PhD Candidate, University of the Western Cape
  52. Katarina Jungar, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, Hanken School of Economics, Finland
  53. Allan Kaplan, UCT Alumnus
  54. Ronnie Kasrils, former government minister, social activist
  55. Harsha Kathard, Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders, UCT
  56. Tania Katzschner, Senior Lecturer City & Regional Planning UCT
  57. Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
  58. Dr Claire Kelly, Lecturer, UCT
  59. Shose Kessi, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, UCT
  60. Andile Khumalo, Lecturer in Music, University of the Witwatersrand
  61. Irvin Kinnes
  62. Dr Lis Lange, University of the Free State and parent of UCT student
  63. Moferefere Lekorotsoana
  64. Susan Levine, Associate Professor, School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, UCT
  65. Rosemary Lombard, Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, UCT
  66. Kathy Luckett, Director Humanities Educational Development Unit, UCT
  67. Thembi Luckett, UCT Alumnus
  68. Zine Magubane, Associate Professor Sociology, Boston College/Van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Chair in Sociology and Politics, UCT
  69. Dr Desiree Manicom, UCT Alumnus
  70. Rashida Manjoo, Associate Professor, UCT
  71. David Maralack (PhD), Senior Lecturer, School of Management, UCT
  72. Zethu Matebeni, Senior Researcher, UCT
  73. Achille Mbembe, Research Professor in History and Politics, University of the Witwatersrand
  74. Lindokuhle Mbhele, Johannesburg
  75. Janice McMillan, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Convenor: UCT Global Citizenship programme
  76. Grant McNulty, Postdoctoral fellow, Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, UCT
  77. Talia Meer, Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit, UCT
  78. Henry Mitchell, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi
  79. Tessa Moll, PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology, UCT
  80. Marissa Moorman, Associate Professor, Department of History, Indiana University
  81. Manya Mooya, Senior Lecturer, Construction Economics and Management, UCT
  82. Fazil Moradi, International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment
  83. Dr Shannon Morreira, Lecturer, Humanities Education Development Unit
  84. Chao F. N. Mulenga, School of Management Studies, Senior Lecturer, UCT
  85. Fairuz Mullagee, Social Law Project, Law Faculty, University of the Western Cape
  86. Dr Alexandra Muller, Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit, UCT
  87. Noosim Naimasiah, PhD Candidate, Makerere Institute of Social Research
  88. Gaontebale Nodoba, Lecturer, Professional Communications Unit, UCT
  89. Lungisile Ntsebeza, Professor, AC Jordan Chair in African Studies, NRF Research Chair in Land Reform and Democracy in South Africa, UCT
  90. Roseline Nyman
  91. Rehana Odendaal, Cape Town
  92. Sophie Oldfield, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, UCT
  93. Desmond Painter, Stellenbosch University
  94. Amrita Pande, PhD., Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, UCT
  95. Lauren Paremoer, Lecturer, Political Studies, UCT
  96. Bonnie Parrott Christians, Cape Town
  97. Jay Pather, Associate Professor, Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts, UCT
  98. Rob Pattman, Stellenbosch University
  99. Donald E. Pease, Ted and Helen Giesel Professor of Humanities, Dartmouth College
  100. Josh Platzky Miller, UCT Alumni, MPhil Candidate, University of Cambridge
  101. Elelwani Ramugondo, Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, UCT
  102. Vimal Ranchod, Associate Professor, SALDRU, UCT
  103. Kopano Ratele, Professor, University of South Africa/Medical Research Council
  104. Fiona Ross, Anthropology, School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics
  105. Maxine Rubin, MPhil Candidate in Justice and Transformation, UCT
  106. Jared Sacks, Cape Town
  107. Rael Jero Salley, MFA, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT
  108. Zaida Samuels, Cape Town
  109. Barbara Schmid, Project Manager, UCT Knowledge Co-op, UCT
  110. Anna Selmeczi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, SARChI: Social Change, University of Fort Hare
  111. Sa'diyya Shaikh, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, UCT
  112. Katleho Shoro, UCT Alumnus, Projects Manager at African Arts Institute
  113. Mahendra Shunmoogam-Grabosch
  114. Ceinwen Smith, Logistics Manager, Organization for Tropical Studies, South Africa
  115. Ravindran Sriramachandran, Asst. Professor Sociology, Ambedkar University, New Delhi
  116. Melissa Steyn, Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand
  117. Abdulkader Tayob, Religious Studies, UCT
  118. Lucia Thesen, Associate Professor, Academic Development Programme, UCT
  119. Suzall Timm, PhD Candidate, Public Law, UCT
  120. John Treat, Programmes Manager, Alternative Information & Development Centre
  121. Dr Carla Tsampiras, Senior Lecturer, Medical Humanities, UCT
  122. Salim Vally, Associate Professor, Director, Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg
  123. Ahmed Veriava, Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand
  124. Antina von Schnitzler, Assistant Professor of International Affairs, The New School, New York
  125. Marion Walton, Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Media Studies, UCT
  126. Herman Wasserman, Professor, Film and Media Studies, UCT
  127. Tara Weinberg, Researcher, Centre for Law & Society, UCT
  128. Dr Undine Whande, UCT Alumni and Research Associate
  129. Hylton White, Senior lecturer in Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand
  130. Quentin Williams, Linguistics Department, University of the Western Cape
  131. Ayanda Wiseman, PhD Candidate, Makerere Institute of Social Research
  132. Rachel Wynberg, Associate Professor, DST/NRF Research Chair: Environmental and Social Dimensions of the Bio-economy, UCT
  133. Henri-Michel Yéré, PhD, UCT Alumni, Switzerland
  134. Bennie Bunsee, Organiser Sobukwe/Biko Warriors & Editor IKWEZI Journal
  135. Menaka Jayakody, OVC National Manager- NACOSA, UCT Alumnus
  136. Kedumetse Makolomakwe, UCT
  137. Nambita Ntshongwana, Student Recruitment, Admissions Office, UCT
  138. Suren Pillay, Centre for Humanities Research, UWC
  139. Gcobani Qambela, North West University and Rhodes University
  140. Prof. Ari Sitas, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town
  141. Marcus Solomon

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