Rhodes Must Fall disrupts NMF lecture, calls panel hypocritical

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10 April 2015 - The statue has finally fallen - Rhodes does not look over UCT Rugby grounds any more.

CAPE TOWN - The student-led Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement on Wednesday interrupted the annual Nelson Mandela Foundation lecture at the University of Cape Town (UCT) calling the audience and panelists hypocritical.

“If they are concerned about inequality, they should be celebrating our protesting. Instead, they ignore our presence,” said RMF member and UCT Masters student Brian Kamanzi.

The annual lecture, which featured world-renowned economist Professor Thomas Piketty, was themed “Income, Wealth, and Persistent Inequality”.

Alongside Piketty — who was patched in via livestream — was UCT’s Associate Professor Debbie Collier, the University of the Western Cape’s Professor Olajide Oloyede, and Stellenbosch University’s Kholekile Malindi.

Facilitating the discussion was Trevor Manuel, former finance minister and current Rothschild advisor and deputy chairman.

Kamanzi said Manuel chose to ignore the RMF members at the beginning of the lecture when they stood quietly in front of the audience assembled in UCT’s Jameson Hall.

“He had the opportunity to engage with us but chose not to,” said Kamanzi.

During Collier’s presentation on inequality, RMF members marched into the hall and onto the stage signing liberation songs.

When Manuel intercepted and requested RMF members refrain from protesting, the students disregarded him.

Kamanzi added that UCT, the audience, and the panelists were hypocrites. Adding that workers — who were most affected by issues of inequality — were made to stand outside and not participate in the discussion.

Asked about a similar incident with UCT’s Barney Pityana, an important figure of the Black Consciousness Movement, who the RMF demanded must leave the stage at a discussion — Kamanzi said the movement did not see it as disrespecting struggle stalwarts.

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