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Rhodes academics can’t show solidarity with Silent Protest, need their own special march

See below the latest move from Rhodes University. Apparently most Rhodes academics are too special to show solidarity at the country’s biggest anti-rape protest and Rhodes rape survivors – they need their own special march where they can wear their “academic regalia” in solidarity. Yes, because seeing you prance around in your bat capes when you couldn’t even don a simple purple t-shirt for one day is such a major act of solidarity. I will write more in this tomorrow – I just got this email about 10 minutes ago.

Dear All

The recent gang rape and disembowelment of the 17 year old, Anene Booysen,
has brought to public awareness the disconcertingly high incidence of rape
and gender-based violence, specifically against women, in South Africa.
Booysen’s murder reflects not only the ubiquity of rape in general, but also
the growing trend of perpetrators using rape as a prelude to murder. In her
paper on “Rape as an Act of Genocide,” Sherrie Russell-Brown argues that
rape is always specific, that it represents “the pleasure of male power
unleashed.a policy to defile, torture, humiliate, degrade, and demoralise
the other”. Although not exclusively perpetrated against women,
statistically, a woman is raped every 17 seconds and an astonishing 1 in 9
women reports having been raped at some point in their lives. As such, the
crisis at hand, may be regarded not so much as having to do with specific
individuals, but rather as demonstrative of something gone awry at a
communal level.

In recognition of the need for communities to reject gender-based
interpersonal violence, the academy is tasked with leading by example and
encouraging the communities in which they exist to take a stand against
violence against women. Following the University of Cape Town’s Outrage at
Violence march in February, the Eastern Cape Universities (Rhodes, Fort Hare
and NMMU) will hold co-ordinated march on 21 May 2013 at 14:00. Both staff
and students are encouraged to put on their academic regalia as a symbol of
the Rhodes’ solidarity with the cause. The Grahamstown constituency will
meet in front of the cathedral at 13:30, march down High Street and conclude
in front of the clock tower on campus.

We hope to see you all there,

P.P. Thando Njovane

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2 Responses

  1. This is shocking. The whole point of the march is solidarity – people standing together as one. Not divided by academic achievement or lack thereof. Wearing academic dress divides the “regular” community from the “academic” community and seems to imply academic elitism. This is a protest that should be taken up by everyone – regardless of race, gender or academic standing. Protest from a professor in academic dress should not – must not – count for more than protest from an unemployed person in casual clothing.
    The point of this protest is solidarity and I think that wearing “academic regalia” undermines this on a fundamental level.