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#Shackville: Students Demand University Of Cape Town To Address Housing Crisis

Students at the University of Cape Town erected a shack Monday to bring awareness to the institution’s student housing shortage.

Source: Twitter user @_maditla.

Students at the University of Cape Town, led by Rhodes Must Fall (RMF), erected a shack Monday to bring awareness to the institution’s student housing shortage.


They placed it at the feet of the UCT Jammie steps that lead to where the Cecil Rhodes statue once stood, although police and private security eventually dismantled the shack Tuesday evening.

According to this photo posted on Twitter, it looks like the shack is now back up.

In a statement from RMF, the Shackville Occupation was a response to the university’s “continued exclusion of Black students:” “At residences throughout UCT, the privilege of white students, who are not subject to the large-scale eviction or space shortages which Black students face on a systematic basis, is further entrenched. This despite them being generally better equipped to find and afford accommodation outside of the residence system. Shackville is a representation of Black dispossession, of those who have been removed from land and dignity by settler colonialism, forced to live in squalor.”

The university denied RMF’s claim, but admitted the issue as 700 beds that are usually free by January were not made available due to deferred exams, the Cape Argus reports. University spokesperson Elijah Moholola informed the Argus of outstanding financial aid decisions and an increase in the number of students in need of accommodation. “The university has only 6,680 beds for a total of 27,000 students,” Moholola said. “Therefore, some 75 percent of students live outside of the residence system.” Lelethu Dantyi told LIVE Magazine SA that the university put him on the housing waiting list three years in a row. “Since I got here, I never got residence. But as a black person, I’m used to surviving. But that doesn’t mean someone else is able to survive just like me,” he said. “What we are saying here is we are refusing the university to exclude black students. So this shack is symbolism.”

Paintings and a wooden plaque dedicated to General Jan Smuts were set on fire during the demonstration as a decolonization project, according to RMF.

Reports say police also fired stun grenades at students.

 

Tensions continue to rise at the lower campus where students were hit by rubber bullets.

This is a developing story. We will update the post as more information becomes available.

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Photo by Alfredo Zuniga / AFP

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