Slice of Life: The harsh light shines on purpose

I used to work at the University of Cape Town as one of the support staff. Transformation was always important to me, so I joined our staff transformation committee. It was then that I really got to see all this race privilege.

It was at that time that the #RhodesMustFall movement happened. As a staff member — especially if you were a staff member of colour — you knew that that movement was inevitable. I remember once sitting in on one of the transformation committee meetings and the vice-chancellor, Max Price, would say things like: “We don’t need a transformation policy; everything is fine.”

Shortly after Chumani Maxwele threw the poo on the Rhodes statue, the university called a town hall meeting. I listened to black students speaking about their experiences at UCT and, just listening to them speak and realising how much I could relate to their experiences — even as a staff member — I knew at that moment that I wouldn’t be able to make a change at that university.

That was the push for me. It made me realise I needed to move from there and use my skills as an attorney to do my bit.

Yes, #RhodesMustFall was about a statue, but for me it made me see my calling, which is to really try and make society a better place — and that I wouldn’t be able to do it at that university. I tried, but it was impossible. That movement and that moment really directed me to where I am at the moment. — Keval Harie, 34, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian

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Carl Collison
Carl Collison
Carl Collison is a freelance journalist who focuses primarily on covering queer-related issues across Africa

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