Racist video surfaces at the University of the Free State

A video of University of the Free State (UFS) employees on their knees eating food which had been urinated upon was condemned “in the strongest possible terms” by the university on Tuesday.

The video, made by male students at the Reitz Residence, surfaced on Tuesday morning and adds to an already tense racial situation at UFS after student riots over the university’s hostel integration policy.

The video allegedly depicts a mock integration of five elderly African staff members.

The rector, Professor Frederick Fourie, said: “It’s a gross violation of the human dignity of the workers involved.”

He said criminal charges would be brought against those found to be responsible.

Speaking to journalists in Bloemfontein, Fourie said the video had been strongly condemned by all members of the university’s management, who had been meeting for most of the day over the issue.

“We have immediately started with a most urgent investigation on this matter,” he said.

The students involved had been identified and the university had taken steps to suspend them.

‘Shocking and inhumane’

Democratic Alliance spokesperson in the province, Liana Van Wyk, who had seen the video, described it as “shocking and inhumane”.

The video depicts four white male students making the African employees swallow a bottle of beer, run a race, play rugby and then kneel and eat meat which had been urinated upon, she said.

“It looked like they were willing [participants] but they didn’t know what purpose the video served ... it was quite humiliating at the end to see the quite senior ladies on their knees eating the meat.”

Fourie said two of the students involved in the video were still studying and had since been barred from entering the campus.

Two other students identified on the video completed their studies last year.

He said he was deeply saddened that some students apparently saw nothing wrong in producing such an offensive and degrading video.

He the university’s management had apologised to the workers on Tuesday morning for the video, which was recorded last year.

Meanwhile, police had been notified about the incident and arrangements had been made for them to be present on the campus on Tuesday night.

DA leader Helen Zille condemned the incident and said the matter would be handed over to the Human Rights Commission to investigate the underlying causes of racial tension on campus. - Sapa

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