Wednesday, 9 March 2016, was the opening of the exhibition: Echoing Voices from Within at the Centre for African Studies (CAS) Gallery to commemorate the first anniversary of the formation of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement. The exhibition is part of a series of events organised by CAS under the theme The Year of the Student. This exhibition and the events to follow this year under the theme were conceptualised primarily as 'a moment of reflection' and commemoration of a movement that impacted significantly on UCT and potentially other universities forever.
What had originally been conceptualised as a 'contained' canvas of the four walls and parking area of CAS became a real living, moving and still evolving canvas and platform for contestation and debate with the staging of a protest by the Trans Collective. The collective protested against the RMF narrative of the exhibition by walking through the crowd into the gallery to lie down naked during the opening address by Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza. Members of the collective then addressed the crowd about their concerns. CAS staff members engaged with the Trans Collective to allow the space to be used for its ultimate purpose: as a place of debate and contestation of narratives.
The position of CAS and the CAS Gallery is to support the right of all people to express their views in the rethinking of issues and challenges in higher education in South Africa. To this end CAS will continue to provide a platform where these debates can be promoted and cherished.
Centre for African Studies
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