Protesters stormed a Rugby match Monday in an effort to bring attention to the suffering of outsourced cleaners at the University of Free State in South Africa. Tensions have peaked for nearly a week because of the school’s long financial crisis that dates back to fall of last year. Many of the workers were Black women who served as the backbone of the university, providing meals and other services to the students who attend the school.
Black student protesters and white rugby players clashed, leaving many of the Black protesters badly bruised and bloodied like in the tweet below.
According to a university announcement in a Facebook post on Monday, the university was closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The decision was made due to the strike of outsourced contract workers. Some students on the Bloemfontein Campus joined the strike [Monday] by protesting on campus.”
— Van Dijk's ponytail (@Earl_Coetzee) February 22, 2016
“Monday night’s event was a setback for transformation. We had made so much progress. The acts of the spectators trampled literally and figuratively the rights of the protesters and opened old wounds,” Jonathan Jansen, University of Free State Vice Chancellor told reporters in Bloemfontein.
Yesterday’s events were in response to last year’s #FeesMustFall protests.
Atlanta Black Star reported that “the recent wave of student protests have forced the South African government to halt an increase of university tuition fees” back in October of last year. Students are upset that their educational aspirations are far too expensive to be achieved.
These protests highlight the lingering effects of South Africa’s long racial apartheid. On campus, many buildings that represented the oppressive apartheid regime were vandalized, and a statue of the country’s first president Charles Robberts Swart was burned down in the aftermath of the rugby match clash. Here is what many UFS students witnessed on the night of the demonstration:
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) February 23, 2016
— Azad Essa (@azadessa) February 23, 2016
— Yoli (@YoliYoli_) February 23, 2016
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 23, 2016
Those backward University of Free State students that decided to attack peaceful protestors are such a throwback to Apartheid Culture #UFS
— Hi I'm James (@itsjamesza) February 23, 2016
If you fear my blackness that is your issue, I will not be afraid of my black skin. #UFS
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) February 23, 2016
For the fact that the police are attacking one side says a lot about our country #UFS
— Mthoko Mbanjwa (@Mbanjwa_Mthoko) February 22, 2016