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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 KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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