A first year student at Stellenbosch University, who had his belongings urinated on by another student, has decided to not lay charges against the perpetrator.
On Monday, a video circulated on social media that showed a white student urinating all over Babalo Ndwayana’s (19) belongings in his room at Stellenbosch University’s Huis Marais residence. The incident sparked outrage and many viewers of the video deemed it a racist act.
According to an interview by News24, Ndwayana decided to be forgiving rather than vengeful, and did not lay criminal charges like he was advised to do.
“[My parents] are very upset. I tried to calm them down and [told them] they must not worry. My father said I must lay criminal charges, but I said to him it’s already enough now. He’s also someone’s child and the way [they] feel about what’s happening to me… This thing also traumatised him,” explained Ndwayana.
The unnamed perpetrator reportedly did apologise for “his behaviour in general” at an emergency house meeting after the incident was reported.
“I know what I did was wrong and I just want to apologise. Sorry guys,” he said.
But even though Ndwayana found it in himself to be forgiving, the apology did nothing to pacify the public’s rage. A mass of students gathered outside Huis Marais on Monday and demanded more severe repercussions.
The University of Stellenbosch proceeded to suspend the student, and publicly “condemned the destructive, hurtful and racist incident”.
SU’s main priority is to provide an inclusive environment and maintain a safe student community where social cohesion is promoted. SU condemns the destructive, hurtful and racist incident in Huis Marais this weekend.The alleged perpetrator was suspended.https://t.co/Ffy22uH0yw
— Stellenbosch University (@StellenboschUni) May 16, 2022
In the same statement, Stellenbosch Univeristy also declared that “a further swift but detailed investigation will determine the final outcomes.”
The incident also sparked further discussions around racial tension at the institution and how students are experiencing discrimination on campus. News24 reported that enraged students gathered at the university’s administration building in Victoria Street and shared their own experiences of discrimination, such as “being made to feel like they do not belong to being mocked for their accents.”
Ndwayana confirmed this strong presence of racial tension on campus. But he doesn’t want this to get in the way of his studies and his plans for his future, saying, “I’m trying to not lose focus… I have to focus on what I came here to do.”
Picture: Jefri Tamba