Leaders And Protesters of UCT: Part 1

Leaders and protesters at the University of Cape Town (UCT) – a déjà vu: past kowtowing and collusion vs recent grovelling and complicity? Part 1: Prof. Howard Phillips UCT-sanctioned events/communications connected to two eminent emeritus UCT professors arguably support allegations that Africa’s pre-eminent university was,...

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FeesMustFall Protest UCT

Leaders and protesters at the University of Cape Town (UCT) – a déjà vu: past kowtowing and collusion vs recent grovelling and complicity?

Part 1: Prof. Howard Phillips

UCT-sanctioned events/communications connected to two eminent emeritus UCT professors arguably support allegations that Africa’s pre-eminent university was, and remains, institutionally/systemically racist. These include lectures and an article by/about UCT’s official and ‘master’ historian Prof. Howard Phillips and a lecture by medical professor Prof. Anwar Mall – a former residence warden and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Transformation.

Phillips has authored two formidable (889 pages in total) scholarly works (here and here) that cover UCT’s history from 1918 to 1968. One of his lectures focuses on the massive, highly publicised, student sit-in protest of 1968 at UCT’s Bremner Administrative Building aimed at persuading UCT’s Vice Chancellor and Council to reverse their decisions to rescind the valid appointment of Archibald ‘Archie’ Mafeje to an academic post. Mafeje was a political radical and innovative social/political anthropologist. But, he was ‘dis-appointed’ by UCT because he was a “Bantu”. Phillips concludes that the sit-in, was ”the final straw” vis-à-vis “a long record of growing hostility and alienation between [them] and university authorities [that] was gathering pace and deepening division”. This grievance “gap“ developed gradually from the late 1950s, “opening wider and wider”, “eventually” (in 1968) precipitating the students’ sit-in. When the sit-in limply collapsed in the face of likely violent suppression from the Government and thugs from Stellenbosch University, the protesting students “made it clear that Mafeje would not be forgotten and the incident would be forever linked to the denial of academic freedom”.

Phillips’ second lecture focuses more broadly on “fraught relations” during “embattled times” at UCT. He discusses notes by aggressively anti-apartheid VC TB Davie (1948-1955) for a lecture to students “as apartheid tightened its grip on the country”. These notes suggest: that “staff and students [should] rise up in arms if freedoms [were] threatened”; that “the university is dead where the students fail to fight for these rights”; and “he who pays the piper calls the tune only if he knows what tune to call”. Simply said, staff/students who believed that they ‘knew the right tune’ could use violence to overthrow those who threatened their freedoms. Phillips further concluded that UCT had a “mixed relationship with policies of apartheid and apartheid government” during the 1960s under the leadership of Davie’s successors (JP Duminy and Richard Luyt). The Phillips-related article in UCT NEWS emphasizes – The ‘two faces’ of UCT. When wearing their public, “open university” Face, Duminy/Luyt “collided” with the Apartheid Regime defending ‘Daviean’ principles. ‘Face Two’ involved “kowtowing” to and “colluding” with the Regime and its ‘unfolding’ practices vis-à-vis racial discrimination – most conspicuous in the Faculties of Medicine and Arts.

In short, Phillips portrays VC Davie as a would-be militant, revolutionary anti-apartheid hero; Duminy, Luyt and UCT’s Council, as untrustworthy apartheid ‘Quislings’; and protesting students/staff as aspirant revolutionaries committed to destroying apartheid and commemorating the memory of the Mafeje ‘Affair’ as evidence of UCT’s long-standing institutional racism.

Mall’s lecture – The Fallist movement: a personal perspective – recounts events vis-à-vis his roles as a residence warden during the 1980s and as DVC for Transformation during the Fallist protests of 2015-2016. He asks the question: “Have our efforts since the late 1980s failed to integrate black students into UCT for them to flourish academically, emotionally and socially?” He answers in the negative by recounting experiences during his time as a warden at Liesbeeck Gardens Residence (LGR) and Transformation DVC during the era of VC Dr Max Price. In the 1980s, black students at LGR complained to Warden Mall about inadequate, inferior facilities and the renovation of lounge areas to make way for extra bedrooms to create additional space for more students. “Racist” UCT had confined them “in the ghetto”, separated from white students in “their comfortable, well-run, well-established” residences. Some disgruntled students “mobilised and participated in a protest”. They “came to my flat [in the building], stood outside and banged pots all night long”.

Prof. Mall then ‘fast-forwarded’ to the 2015/16 Fallist protests, describing them “gratefully” as a “wake-up call” generating, for him, a “déjà vu” “because [the protests] also focused a lot on residence life”. This time racist UCT was condemned for admitting an inordinate number of “foreigners” (non-South African students irrespective of ‘race’?) and “white students from the [Cape Town] southern suburbs” into UCT residences. Price, Mall and fellow UCT Executives explained to the Fallists with whom they ‘negotiated’ that this ‘mixed’ occupancy ameliorated alleged ‘ghetto-like’ conditions: “[a] university is a place for the meeting of minds, and you cannot have a homogenous group in a university and not expose yourself to ideas of the outside world”. These Fallists did not accept the Executive’s explanation and protested much, much more aggressively – this time far beyond banging pots on walls.

Although Mall concluded that “these [new] protests reminded us that while much has changed, things seemed to be still the same or worse for many”, he also stressed that “one of our biggest challenges [from] both sides is to learn how to communicate robustly and respectfully”. Indeed, current VC Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng asserts that all members of UCT’s community should:

“Listen with tolerance, understanding, respect and compassion to those who have different opinions, beliefs and values.”

My goal here is to provide robust and respectful commentary on, and discussion of, Phillips’ and Mall’s narratives.

Gradual vs punctuational transformation during the 1960s

The world and UCT did NOT transform “gradually” politically or culturally during the 1960s. That decade was arguably the most event-driven, politically and culturally explosive 10 years of the 20th Century. It was a unique period of activism. Students were at the cutting edge of ‘coordinated’ social radicalism and were bound and determined to reshape their various societies. Punctuational, in many cases irreversible, changes were triggered by the “The Countercultural Revolution. For examples of this read Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Paul Ehrlich , Garrett Hardin and Rachel Carson.

Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news!  Chuck Berry

Africa during the 1960s

Thirty-two colonies gained independence from their European imperialist rulers. The process was sudden and often involved radical regime change characterized by political turmoil, violence, mass murder and political assassination. This politically explosive “re-birth” of Afrika set off what pan-Africanist Robert Sobukwe labelled as the second “Scramble for Africa”. Instead of western Europeans, the new ‘contenders’ were the USA and Soviet Union.

South Africa during the 1960s

By 1960, the racist, white-supremacist Apartheid Regime was at its apogee. Apartheid ‘Architect/Engineer’ Dr Hendrik Verwoerd resolutely promoted the interests of ethnically mixed (Dutch/German/French) right-wing, nationalist European Afrikaners. These ‘settlers’ had: lived in southern Africa for three centuries; developed their own language, history, religion, culture and national identity; farmed/industrialized in the Cape and once-independent Republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State; and fought two bitter wars for independence against imperial Britain. During the Second War, more than 40 000 Afrikaner and black-African women, children and old people died in British concentration camps. By 1960, Afrikaner ‘thinking’ had also introgressed into the English speaking sphere and the National Party Government had ‘legalized’ a tyranny of total economic, political and military/security apartheid dominance over the country.

Verwoerd and his fellow neo-Herrenvolk rebuffed all and sundry (even verligte elements within their National Party) who supported broader democracy within South Africa. The primary ‘goal’ of the apartheid Bantu Educational System was to “fit” education to groups according to their own “national character”. In reality, ‘fitted education’ for blacks was pedagogical genocide that, under a different guise (see here and here), has been resurrected  within post-Apartheid South Africa.

UCT during the 1960s

UCT was led by Vice Chancellors Dr JP Duminy (1958-1967) and Sir Richard Luyt (1968-1980).  Phillips describes (P. 310) Duminy as a “stiffly formal conservative”, classical, ‘bi-cultural’ liberal who worked within a rigidly “hierarchical” UCT, patterned after “older universities in Britain”. Duminy respected (and demanded respect for) decorum and the traditions of all South Africans. At 61, he was in the twilight of his career and held a pre-apartheid paternal-racialist view that rapid/radical transformation could be disastrous. Yet, from his early days, Duminy’s commitment to liberal ideals was strongly influenced by Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, a strong advocate of human rights and a supporter of non-racial government and the gradual political empowerment of people of colour (PoC) in a liberal multi‐racial society.

1960s UCT was a diverse socio-politico-cultural ‘crucible’, tolerating right-wingers, left-wing socialists, communists and even the Trotskyist Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM). The NEUM was politically far to the left of the ANC, favouring socialist revolution and vehemently opposed and actively discouraged any cooperation, collaboration/reconciliation with the ‘white hegemony’. Academic freedom was the norm and there were rowdy meetings characterized by heated arguments. However, although ‘Her’ (the alma mater) staff and Council strongly opposed academic segregation, to varying degrees, they favoured only gradual social and cultural integration.

Duminy’s early days as VC

Duminy initially aligned himself with UCT’s political moderates. His 1961 booklet, South Africa’s dilemma: what is the way out? outlines his vision and strong disagreement with Verwoerd et al. – philosophically and politically. Having said that, Duminy inherited an institutional ‘sticky wicket’. Blacks and whites tended to socialize separately, and some PoC chose – or were pressured by anti-white colleagues from the NEUM – to boycott traditional UCT structures, including the SRC and NUSAS. Sadly, Duminy and the majority of UCT’s white students and academics did little to change the status quo. Their goal was to ‘educate’, rather than be educated by, their black colleagues.

UCT goes ‘pear-shaped’

In 1964, the political ‘faeces hit the fan’ when UCT student- and graduate-members of the militant African Resistance Movement (ARM) were arrested for bombing key facilities. The ARM was founded in 1960 (before Umkhonto we Sizwe/Poko) by members of South Africa’s Liberal Party and South African Communist Party committed to the violent revolutionary overthrow of apartheid.  Duminy initially called for the alleged UCT ARMist bombers’ speedy and fair treatment by the police and judiciary. However, he and UCT were devastated when the bombers were self-betrayed, confessed to guilt and ARMist John Harris, a member of the executive committee of the Liberal Party, planted an incendiary explosive device in a railway station that killed a grandmother, permanently disfigured the face of her 12 year-old granddaughter and injured 21 other innocent civilians. Much more explosives, detonators, timers, et al. were found at Harris’ hideout.

Phillips makes no mention of Harris or his terror attack. He describes the ARM as “resort[ing] to the use of sabotage to challenge the regime and to try to spark resistance” [my emphasis].

Matters came to a ‘boiling point’ when UCT graduate/academic Adrian Leftwich – a past Vice President of the UCT SRC and President of the NUSAS, a founder of the ARM and an advocate of sabotage and guerrilla warfare – was arrested. Leftwich imported plastic explosives and blew up electricity pylons and railway cables. When caught red-handed by the security police, devastatingly for the ARM and anti-apartheid activism, Leftwich quickly capitulated to and collaborated with the Apartheid Regime. His traitorous actions are outlined in detail in his essay I Gave the Names. He “caved in, betraying and standing as state witness against many ARM cadres – including close friends, UCT students and graduates he had recruited and members of the underground South African Communist Party. Betrayed ARMists had no time to escape. They were apprehended and many were jailed on Robben Island. The Regime allowed Informant Leftwich to emigrate to England, where he had a successful career as a university academic.

Phillips shows Leftwich holding the “Torch of Freedom” (P. 276) and describes him as a “left-leaning” (p. 218), “disillusioned”, “liberal-turned-radical” (302) “yearning for action” (301) who was “convicted” of sabotage (p. 278), and only “resorted to the use of sabotage” (301). Leftwich was “convicted” of nothing. Simply put, Leftwich’s behaviour gave unwarranted ‘credibility’ – even among political moderates – that the kith and kin of the SRC, Liberal Party and NUSAS were correctly characterized by Minister Vorster as ideological “offspring of vipers” (P. 302). Black activists within the NEUM used it similarly to describe ‘Leftwichers’ as an “untrustworthy”, ‘gutless’, “herrenvolk liberals” (P. 302).

Not long after the establishment of the ARM, UCT academic Harold ‘Jack’ Simons, was banned without evidence of association with, or sympathy for, revolutionary structures. A couple of years later, medical academic Raymond (Bill) Hoffenberg was similarly banned. The apartheid-enforced departure of these eminent academics had been preceded by the reluctant emigration of many other eminent anti-apartheid UCT academics, including pioneering primatologist Kenneth Hall, social psychologist Kurt Danziger [who had testified in political trials on the effects of solitary confinement, taking a strong stand against it] and anatomist Ronald Singer. In the wake of the Mafeje Affair, Maurice Pope, Professor of Classics and Dean of Arts, resigned in protest.

In May 1966, Ian Robertson, President of NUSAS, was served with three banning orders – also without specific charges – only a month before the subsequently assassinated US Senator Robert Kennedy’s visit to South Africa. Robertson was instrumental in inviting Kennedy to be the keynote speaker at NUSAS’ Day of Affirmation of Academic and Human Freedom. Speaking in UCT’s Jameson Hall, Kennedy gave one of his most powerful addresses. One sentence in the speech promoted militant resistance to Apartheid:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

 A change of heart

Violent action/reaction to apartheid oppression in general, ARM bombings, Leftwich’s betrayal, bannings of eminent academics, attacks on UCT and Her leadership from all sides, Kennedy’s speech (from which Duminy was excluded), etc. simultaneously and seriously impacted VC Duminy and UCT’s Council. Duminy’s refusal to condemn the banning of Ian Robertson made matters even worse.

Also, like early VCs Beattie and Falconer, Duminy censored publications, reprimanded/expelled students and Varsity editors when they brought UCT into “disrepute” or “overstepped all the bounds of propriety” and “decent behaviour”. In the 1930s, VC Beattie banned the rowdy, right-wing, racist, anti-Semitic, nationalist Afrikaner Nasionale Studentebond (ASB) when its members departed from “decent behaviour” by attacking PoC and Jewish members of UCT’s community. Similar disreputable actions during the 1960s included publishing sustained/scathing attacks on Duminy personally and Council collectively and a blatantly confrontational and sexist articles in Varsity magazine, e.g. How to Seduce a Freshette”. Phillips characterizes (P. 312) this ‘seduction recipe’ as “mildly suggestive”.

So, by the mid-1960s, ageing Duminy (now in his late 60s) in felt betrayed by radicals at UCT and thereafter tended to side with the Bloedsappe UP faction of Council. He ceased open confrontation with the apartheid government and changed his leadership style, directing speech after speech against ‘militant activist’ students. But, there is no substantive evidence – from Phillips or anyone – that Duminy colluded with the Apartheid Regime, or anyone else, to punish student or academic activists for political reasons.

The 1968 Mafeje Affair – an alternative narrative

During his first few months in office, VC Luyt – described as a “breath of fresh air” by Duminy-damning Keith Gottschalk – forcefully closed the rift between UCT and staff/students. He rescinded coercive attempts by the government and encouraged unfettered, integrated social activities and functions on campus for the first time. This radically new leadership strategy initiated a healing of relations between factions within UCT and allowed protest to concentrate on the government rather than internal issues.

However, Luyt’s decision to support rescinding Mafeje’s appointment was not the action of a “kowtowing”, “colluding” Quisling. Luyt was no stranger to conflict and intimidation having voluntarily served with distinction as a soldier during World War II – climbing the ranks from sergeant to lieutenant-colonel. Moreover, as colonial Governor of British Guiana during 1964-66, he dealt firmly and fairly with rioters, strikes and other disturbances stemming from racial, social and economic conflicts, shepherding the colony to independence. This earned him a knighthood.

Luyt viewed the letter from Education Minister Jan de Klerk demanding that the appointment be rescinded as an existential threat to UCT. The Government “would not hesitate to take such steps as it may deem fit to ensure that the accepted traditional outlook of South Africa was observed”. The Regime’s “steps” taken before and after the Mafeje Affair included intimidation, banning, incarceration, arson, brutal interrogation, torture and, if ‘necessary’, assassination. Indeed, during the affair, ‘security’ police even harassed members of Mafeje’s family.

Mafeje: a maverick academic and political ‘threat’

Mafeje’s nascent, but even then radical, political and academic ideas threatened dogmas held by the Apartheid Regime AND UCT’s ‘Old Boy’ network. De Klerk provided Luyt with information about ‘Mafeje-the-subversive’. He was a founder member of the African Peoples’ Democratic Union of Southern Africa (APDUSA), a Trotskyist group that exposed alleged collaborators (e.g. Richard van der Ross) with the Apartheid Regime. One of APDUSA’s key goals was to realize the Non-European Unity Movement’s objective of initiating a non-racial struggle by forging an alliance between the urban proletariat and the rural ‘peasantry’ to overthrow ‘white’ supremacy, redistribute land in the countryside and achieve national liberation as a prelude to a socialist revolution.

 A non-gradual, spontaneous, ’soft’ sit-in: August 1968

The Mafeje sit-in was NOT a planned protest culminating from a gradual, decade-long, cumulative, series of antagonistic altercations between UCT’s leadership and students. It was a spontaneous event triggered by student Raphael Kaplinsky’s electrifying, last-minute, impromptu speech at a mass meeting in Jameson Hall. When it morphed into a prolonged and high-profile event, its major ‘successful’ activity was a ‘teach-in’ that did NOT focus on Mafeje’s rights as a black man, Apartheid in general or the aggressive promotion of non-racialism. Indeed, Mafeje complained in an interview that the sit-in was a “meaningless and futile farce” with his treatment by UCT protesters used promote their own leftist agendas. Most protesters’ immediate goal was to integrate UCT academically. Socio-cultural ‘integration’ remained a longer-term goal, focusing more on ‘assimilating’ blacks. Politics was a “dirty game” that had no place on campus.

So, when:

  1. faced by belligerent students from Stellenbosch University – some equipped with firearms and dogs – who, encouraged by the Apartheid government, invaded UCT to break up the sit-in and assault protesters;
  2. photos of some protestors were passed to security personnel to create targets for “steps” by pro-apartheid agents; and
  3. Prime Minister Vorster warned ominously that, if the sit-in were not dissolved, he would “do it myself thoroughly and effectively”

the activism and population of protesters wilted rapidly and the sit-in collapsed with minimal resistance.

The aftermath of the Mafeje Affair

Mafeje completed a Ph.D. at Cambridge, clashing with his patronizing supervisor.  In his own words:

“I was not going to allow myself to be [academically] ‘adopted’ by anybody.”

 He established himself as an internationally acclaimed scholar, serving as a distinguished academic and professor at universities in the UK, Europe and Africa. Decades later, UCT’s Orator (and Monica’s son), Emeritus Professor Francis Wilson, tellingly described Mafeje when UCT awarded him a posthumous, unwanted honorary doctorate:

“His [Non-European] Unity Movement background gave him a life-long capacity for incisive analysis; a deep suspicion of the state, particularly of the Stalinist variety; and a cheerful willingness to be politically incorrect and to be a trenchant critic of anybody whom he suspected of any kind of racist or imperialist thinking.”

Two decades after his initial rejection, Mafeje would once again be effectively excluded from employment at UCT – this time with no coercion from the government – through a more highly suspicious ‘evaluation’ from within. But, that’s another story for Prof. Phillips to address in future (hopefully soon-to-come) tomes on UCT’s history.

In short, Phillips’ account of the Affair ‘misses the boat’. In the context of 1968, given the draconian, resolutely vicious apartheid system, the threat by the Apartheid Regime could not be taken idly. Had Luyt and Council aggressively defied the Regime – let alone “rise up in arms” and “fight for rights” – elements within the apartheid bureaucracy and ‘security’ forces could have retaliated massively with sustained, crushing and devastating force.

Post-sit-in politics

The precipitous capitulation (kowtowing?) of the protesters resulted in the withering and/or rejections of structures at both the far left and right wings of the political spectrum. Those who identified with the ‘left’ came under the growing influence of UCT graduate Rick Turner – a charismatic political philosopher and theorist and key sit-in participant who contributed significantly to teach-ins. Turner was convinced that the onus was on whites in general, and white students and black worker unions in particular, to adopt a more radical and resolute stand against racism – but not be subservient to the militant ANC. Like today’s Fallists, another leftist group, the Modern World Society, a small group with Trotskyite leanings, defamed Chancellor Harry Oppenheimer as “mercenary and hypocritical” when he was invited to give the T.B. Davie Memorial Lecture on Academic Freedom.

Simply put, the anti-apartheid movement at UCT was, at best, paralyzed and, at worst, inchoate. UCT had morphed from a vibrant socio-academic ‘crucible’ into a divisive ideo-political ‘cauldron’. Real resistance followed soon after, but not at UCT.

Seeds of the sit-in

In 1970, Rick Turner became a senior lecturer at the University of Natal where he met and befriended Steve Biko. They became a leaders in The Durban Moment. Turner had also: been friendly with members of the ARM; violated the Mixed-marriages Act; and been one of the first in the White-Left to appreciate and trans-racially communicate the significance of the Black Consciousness Movement. Turner’s inspiring lectures, speeches and publications stressed the virtues of bottom up participatory democracy in opposition to authoritarian Stalinist and Trotskyist versions of leftism as well as apartheid. He was a strong advocate of black workers’ unions and a critic of partisan party politics. His interventions promoted cooperation between the white NUSAS and black SASO students and sowed the seeds for non-racial union-building.

These activities made him a top target for the Apartheid Regime. He was stalked by agents of the apartheid security police unit – BOSS. His phone was tapped. His home was fire-bombed. His car’s tyres were slashed and engine damaged. BOSS agents attempted to run him down with a motor vehicle on at least one occasion. The harassment ‘cherry-on-top’ was a banning order in 1973 that emasculated his academic career which had been geared to transform education into a more democratic process. In the end, his existence as an ‘all-rounder’ threat to Apartheid literally ‘triggered’ apartheid murderers to assassinate him on 8 January 1978, two months before his banning order was due to expire and four months after the murderous beating and torture of Steve Biko. These REAL threats to apartheid were terminated – without fear of exposure, let alone punishment – before they could make more meaningful contributions to the Struggle.


Prof. Phillips incorrectly concludes that:

  1. ‘revolutionary’ events at UCT in general during 1968 and the Mafeje Affair in particular were caused by a decade of gradual, cumulative oppression of students by ‘two-faced’, kowtowing VCs and Councils who colluded with the Apartheid Regime and
  2. the student protesters’ actions after the Affair had long-term constructive effects on commemorating the Affair as evidence of institutional racism.

The events were unplanned, uncoordinated, spontaneous, inadvertent, grossly unsuccessful efforts to emulate highly co-ordinated radical change occurring world-wide. UCT’s leaders and decision-making body at the time invoked a collusion-free Realpolitik that allowed UCT to survive real and imminent danger from a then all-powerful regime determined at ANY cost to implement apartheid sensu lato and crush any opposition to achieving that goal. Any ‘kowtowing’ was done by sit-in protesters who passively stood down, rightly fearing violent (mortal?) retribution by apartheid ‘security’ personnel/agents and thugs from Stellenbosch University.

With regard the sit-in “ma[king] it clear that Mafeje would not be forgotten and the incident would be forever linked to the denial of academic freedom”, according to Mafeje-scholar Prof. Lungisile Ntsebeza:

“By the end of the 1960s, the Mafeje affair had escaped the memory of virtually all sectors of UCT, students and staff who sat-in at Bremner building included”.

VC Luyt and his successors had to fight on like ‘Stalingraders’ to resist UCT becoming a Stellenbosch/Pretoria/Potchefstroom look-a-like, while ‘Leftwichers’ did their harm and went elsewhere.

Duminy and Luyt re-assessed

VC Duminy was not a ‘two-faced colluder’. After the ’Leftwich Affair’ he qualitatively changed his management style – not his political ideology or fealty. Those interested in a balanced and fair assessment of him should read the soon-to-appear biography by his son Emeritus Professor Andrew Duminy, an eminent scholar of South African history.

VC Luyt ‘retired hurt’ from the pitch, but only temporarily and ‘bruised’. After the 1968 Mafeje Affair, he commented on the protest in private: “I cannot approve the method of protest that my students chose … I am quietly proud of their finding the spirit and courage to protest against what they see as morally wrong.” Luyt fought on, quite honourably, non-violently and successfully, against the Apartheid Regime for another decade (not yet covered by Phillips), laying a firm foundation for his successor to challenge that hegemony to even greater and more decisive effect while continuing to build UCT into a world-beating university staunchly opposed to apartheid. The claim that de Klerk’s threat was  a “vague” “whim” by Affair-chronicler Dr Fred Hendricks is specious. There was no “common purpose between the two men [de Klerk and Luyt]”. War hero Luyt did NOT ‘re-enlist’ “in the service of the [apartheid] state”. He was not “scheming and compliant” and “opt[ing] for a cozy relationship with the state” acting as its agent to “do its racist work”, “chos[ing] to defer to the government’s wishes against the integrity and autonomy of the university”. Anyone interested a more balanced assessment of Sir Richard should read pages 78-81 in VC Stuart Saunders’ memoire Vice-Chancellor on a Tightrope.

Read Part 2 of this article to learn about Prof. Mall’s lecture.

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  1. Whose History of UCT? 1948 - 1968 - Rational Standard Reply

    […] UUA, Phillips focuses on “fraught relations” at UCT during “embattled times”, effectively promoting the highly controversial view of UCT as institutionally “entrenched” with racism and burdened […]

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