Letter to Editor

Dear Editor

(from Diphapang Mofokeng)

I have realised that there is more to the name change debate than it meets the eye. It appears to me that those arguing for the name to remain do so uninformed. They think that proponents of name change do so out of sheer excitement.

 When people’s government came into power it had to address what became known as “white fears” and in some cases at the expense of “Black expectations”. I will support my argument within the context of national reconciliation. To me the name has become ‘divisive and offensive’ and symbolic of racial domination. Cecil john Rhodes was not a messiah as people would want us to believe. He was a racist, British imperialist, cruel and thought of himself as more human, superior and worthy of recognition than others. There’s another strange argument that should the name change, there will be a sudden drop in standards. This is utter rubbish and distortion of the highest form. A university is rated according to the quality of its lecturers, quality of teaching, throughput, research output, and its responsiveness to socio economic conditions facing the immediate community where it is located. It means if standards drop due to name change, it was rated based on its name and not by factors aforestated.
 There are universities that changed their names and until today they have not crashed, instead more investors are showing keen interest in them. NMMU didn’t collapse, and RAU among others. The argument of investor confidence and all that nonsense is advanced in order to block progress towards nation building, national reconciliation, human solidarity, social cohesion and social transformation. The commitment towards addressing “white fears” was meant to lessen resistance from former apartheid beneficiaries to support social transformation (even to the point of making sacrifices) when they have a sense of comfort emanating from a solid foundation of assurance of forgiveness and unconditional acceptance.
  The name change idea should be viewed as an attempt to enable former apartheid victims to support national reconciliation (even to the point of forgiving the atrocities of the past) when they have received assurance that former apartheid beneficiaries are committed towards combating racism.
 However, I must say that there are many good white people out there who are committed to the goals of national reconciliation. Equally there are many bad Black people who have been brainwashed and indoctrinated to think that anything “unWhite” is poor.
 Diphapang Mofokeng



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