Open Letter to North West University’s Dr Theuns Eloff

Titled “Nazi claims: Correct to avoid fertilisat​ion of the learning institutio​n for similar incidents (sic)”, this is a brief letter emailed to Dr Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of the NWU, this morning at 03:08 (I couldn’t sleep).

Dear Mr. Ellof (sic),

Last week when I saw the Beeld frontpage, I wished my Afrikaans – coming from Northern Cape – was as fluent as they come. But it wasn’t. So I wished at that time that someone could translate the report for me as I found it quite interesting. It therefore came as a shock what the report contained. Even shockingly, the North West University response to the report was not convincing at all, in my view.

As a proud graduate of the university’s Mafikeng campus, I was therefore saddened that my former peers were doing such gestures in the name of “innocence”. The Higher education department’s defence of the university is also inviting. I fail to understand how those students failed to have known what their action (or lack thereof) would have invited from the general public.

Although, I must say, I was never subjected to this or any kind of “initiation” at the university, it is worrying that these “initiations” still happen – 20 years into democracy. Or maybe that’s because Mafikeng campus is black-dominated while Potchefstroom campus is white-dominated?

But whatever the case, these seeming Nazi tendencies masked as “innocent” need to be arrested by university management as failure to do so leaves the learning institution a fertile ground for other racist and apartheid gestures.‎ I’m however glad you’ve put measures in place to deal with such matters.

I trust you find this in order, especially from proud graduate of your institution.

NB: I found Hitler in Potchefstroom by Thorne Godinho a very interesting piece and I would recommend you read it too.

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One thought on “Open Letter to North West University’s Dr Theuns Eloff

  1. Very interesting comments! I have also been a student at this institution as far back as 1972. I cannot remember if we had to do a so called Nazi salute, but I find it laughable that some parts of our society who had nothing to do with such a gesture performed by the Nazis, could 70 years later be offended by it! (Even though it was reported on completely out of context!!)Maybe it is time that we address the real issues of the day rather than dwelling on propaganda from the past in an effort to score some points!

    Maybe we should rather be concerned about the huge corruption, economic and political damage currently happening in this country and rather DO something about it. Not waste our time and energy on something that has no more bearing on today’s environment. If we look at what is happening on some other campuses around the country one can only feel sorry for those who are supposed to become the leaders of tomorrow!

    One of the previous regime’s presidents, a hundred years ago said: “take from the past that is good and build a future on it.” Why still be bothered about some of the bad things that happened in the past and try and build a future on it?? As long as we are going to cry and complain about everything from the past I can only see this country going down the drain like so many others in our region!

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