Popular among black student activists, fallists, and decolonalists is University of Cape Town professor Lwazi Lushaba. Lushaba teaches his political science students that blacks and whites cannot be friends,
“I tell them (first year Political Science students), there is no possibility of friendship between you as a Black person and you as a White person” (1).
He also apparently set this as a question in a 2017 exam:
“Write detailed notes on race and racism. In your answer take care to specify the reasons for the impossibility of friendship between blacks and whites.”
Although one can access a strong refutation of Lushaba’s argument at the Rational Standard, there are several reasons why I find his sentiments appalling. First, and certainly most obvious, is that South Africans of all colours and creeds are living in a post-apartheid context where they need to face social challenges together and etch forward a path of racial reconciliation and unity. Lushaba is essentially putting a dagger into the heart of this process through what he is teaching his students. Secondly, in what strikes me as a lack of respect for personal reflection from students, Lushaba’s phrasing of the question forces his students to agree with him. There is no space for reflection or disagreement and marks will only be allocated if the student can regurgitate their professor’s corrupted logic. This I find disastrous for a university as academia is predicated on the ability to disagree with points of view. Well, not in Lushaba’s class.
This is also not the only controversial statement Lushaba has made. He is the same person to have complained that there were “too many white females” in a postgraduate course of his. In a fallist protest, he stated to a black crowd of students, rather undemocratically, that “We’re happy to coexist with white people, but they need to know primarily these institutions belong to us.” It is my view that no public institution is owned by any one race group and to suggest that this is so, or should be so, is absurd and itself racist. Elsewhere he stated that “we [blacks] will run UCT on our own and give them [whites] a new value system.”
In fact, it was just shy of two weeks ago this very year that I saw Lushaba lecturing a politics class, as his department is on the same floor as mine. I have currently not come across any formal condemning of Lushaba’s racism and logic promulgated in his class by UCT. It seems to me that one has to dig fairly diligently online to find any of the above information about him, which is included across only a handful of articles. It is possible that UCT has distanced itself from Lushaba. It is also possible that they haven’t.
Either way, professors and students presenting ideas such as these are cementing a toxic and racist environment at UCT that can only hurt South Africa in the long run.
Tim Crowe. 2018. Taking on UCT’s Fallists in their own vernacular – Tim Crowe. Available.
Benatar, David. 2017. UCT’s climate turns toxic. Available.