Editorial: Call out all Theuns du Toits

His name is Theuns du Toit. Remember it. He is the latest face of racism in South Africa. However, he is not the first and will not be the last. He is just one amid other women and men like him filled with hatred and disregard for people who do not look like them. 

What happened at Stellenbosch University — do not be fooled — was a racist act. Theuns du Toit walked into a young black man’s dorm room and urinated on his belongings because he thought it funny and believed his whiteness and maleness would shield him from any repercussions. 

However, what Theuns du Toit did is not an isolated event. This entrenched culture in South African communities, schools and universities infringe on the dignity and rights of those victimised. It is prevalent enough to be regarded as normal by the institutions conditioned to accept it. This culture aims to humiliate, mock and intimidate people perceived as different. The victims can be singled out for their race, appearance, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, religion or any characteristic that does not conform to those of a dominant group. The town and its university are only a microcosm of what happens in our country. We are a country filled with anger, hatred, and prejudices. White people who hate black peopel because they are black and therefore urinate on them or force them to drink their urine.

Men who hate women. Do not forget we are second or first as the capital of rape in the world. We might as well rank high for misogyny and patriarchy as well. 

Cisgender straight people who hate those who do not identify as perceived or do not identify at all. Do not forget the black women in townships who are subjected to corrective rape and live in fear daily in their communities. 

We hate the beggars on the street making us feel uncomfortable in our cars as we drive to Constantia. We are the most unequal nation in the world. 

The Stellenbosch incident did not happen in a vacuum. It is simply a symptom of our broken country led by useless, visionless, spineless leaders — including those of Stellenbosch University, who still do not have a plan for when such racist incidents happen — and citizens who will not stand up and say NO. 

Only when we consistently stand up against these prejudices and racist, sexist acts do we begin to dismantle the structures that give them life whenever they rear their head. But when we turn a blind eye when an accomplished black woman’s qualifications are questioned with no basis, or a racist incident is called hazing, or homophobic jokes are giggled at, or poor people are disrespected — Theuns du Toit and his ilk will continue to feel emboldened and piss on everything we are trying to build in this country. That which is good, right and equal. Don’t be quiet when you see people like you being prejudicial to others. Call them out. 

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