Our past continues to beget our future. We are not sell-outs, just victims.
By Ntsako Mlambo (Child.of.Afrika)
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.
UCT lecturer, Dr. Lwazi Lushaba recently published a piece about the politics of online learning that definitely makes us South Africans reflect on our decaying social systems. While UCT has successfully managed to opt for online learning in order to proceed with the academic year, other universities in the country have not been able to transition as smoothly. Dr. Lushaba makes the distinction by mentioning that UCT categorises as a “white university” that has received donations and support from white cooperate South Africa because of their social capital. However, “black universities” like the University of Limpopo cannot do the same putting “white universities” at an advantage. Dr. Lushaba particularly questions the integrity of black students in these “white universities” by indicating their ‘sell-out’-like behaviour by participating in cultures of privilege.
UCT is well resourced in terms of giving out laptops and data but the students who are having these services rendered to them are not in environments that allow them to thrive. Students who come from parts of our country that are immensely impoverished, black students in particular, are exposed to the viciousness of poverty but are still expected to participate in online learning accordingly. The black students who are in these ‘white universities’ are not sell-outs as Dr Lushaba indicates but have fallen victim again. It is extremely unfair to say that the black students are submitting to white culture and contributing to cultures of privilege. In saying that you are victimising the victimised. Majority of those black students are already in those universities with half an arm and half a leg. The only way for them to triumph over their circumstances is for them to receive an education. Falling behind is not an option, even as the poverty which they come from confronts them.
This pandemic that has forced us to opt for online learning exposes how the inclusivity that we want now is not possible because we have not addressed the reasons why some are more economically privileged than others in this country. To address the privilege divide, we really need to ask: Does the academic year need to go on if it is only stretching out the gap between the privileged and disadvantaged? This reality is the reason why in this country exclusion will be televised but not revised and that is how our past will beget our future.
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