The University of the Free State announced yesterday that the historical statue of M.T. Steyn, the last president of the former Boer Republic that came to an end in 1902 is to be “relocated off campus”. In recent years, the university has been prone to antiwhite sentiment, including attacks on statues representing white people.
According to a statement released by the university, “Council furthermore requested that the relocation must be done in complete cooperation
with the family of President MT Steyn. The decision of the Council follows a recommendation made by the ‘Special Task Team’ in a report to the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, that the statue should be relocated to a site off campus.”
“The decision was not taken lightly, but I believe that it was in the best interest of the university,” said Prof Petersen. The “Special Task Team” was appointed earlier this year by Prof Petersen “to develop and implement a framework on engaging with a process to review the position of the
statue in front of the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus.”
Black students and communist radicals started to object to the MT Steyn statue as far back as 2003, and objections to “the statue of the white man” were again raised during a University Assembly on 28 April 2015. In
January 2018, the university’s Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) work stream dealing with “Names, Symbols and Spaces” embarked on a process of “reviewing how space and symbolic representation facilitates or hinders social inclusion in a diverse community”. Representations of white people were seen as “hindering diversity”, therefore the MT Steyn statue had to go as “a priority”.
On 8 March 2018, the black-dominated Student Representative Council (SRC), once again asked for the MT Steyn statue “to be removed”. Prof Francis Petersen, a radical coloured academic that used to be with the Cultural-Marxist-infested University of Cape Town, and then nominated to be vice-chancellor and principal of the rural University of the Free State, “acknowledged the urgency of the matter and appointed the Special Task Team to review the position of the statue”.
According to Prof Petersen, the relocation of the statue to a site off campus
will best serve the university’s vision for the future. “This includes ensuring that the UFS is a place where everyone feels welcome, where
diversity is encouraged and celebrated, where concepts such as
decolonialisation are challenged in an academic and realistic
way, and where integration is accomplished in a holistic manner
– as reflected in the ITP,” he said.
The Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) of the university is meant to “racially transform” the institution in keeping with the overal “transformation” ideology of the ruling ANC-terrorist regime of South Africa. According to the university, “as established in the ‘Names, Symbols and Spaces’ work stream of the Integrated Transformation Plan, the university’s statues, artworks, names, and memorabilia should facilitate social inclusion in a diverse community and reflect a transformed university. The visual and spatial environments should also promote inclusivity and non-racialism. Keeping the statue in its current position – elevated and central, in front of the building that houses the university’s executive management– does not align with the core principles of inclusivity and diversity.”
“In fact, a large proportion of our student body is feeling unwelcome (at least in the specific space in front of the Main Building), as it represents a period in history that they do not feel part of… A comprehensive approach and coherent process will be implemented to reconceptualise the space in front of the Main Building. Members of the Special Task Team will form part of the reconfiguration process,” said Prof Petersen.