AfriForum Youth’s Kovsies branch and AfriForum yesterday submitted a proposal opposing the concealment and removal of the M.T. Steyn statue on the campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).
This follows after the UFS management gave stakeholders only five days to furnish them with reasons with regard to the removal of the statue of this former President of the Orange Free State. The proposed plan to remove the statue is part of the UFS student council’s transformation policy.
“We believe in cultural freedom, which comprises mutual recognition and respect for each other’s heritage, language and culture. AfriForum Youth yearns for a culture of inclusivity on campus, but if one group’s heritage is not welcome, how must all the students feel welcome?” says Chantelle du Preez, Chairperson of AfriForum Youth’s Kovsies branch.
AfriForum Youth and AfriForum especially expressed their unhappiness with the process to remove the statue.
“The campus management uses the so-called process as a smoke screen to appease stakeholders, while they have already decided to get rid of the statue,” says Ohann Fourie, AfriForum Youth’s National Coordinator for Campus Structures.
Du Preez furthermore says that AfriForum Youth is planning to launch a campaign to oppose the removal of the statue.
“We want to inform students about who M.T. Steyn really was. Due to the remarks of Asive Dlaniwa, President of the student council, students are under the impression that M.T. Steyn started apartheid, which is not the case – M.T. Steyn already died in 1916, a considerable time before apartheid was instituted.”
M.T. Steyn’s statue is not only important for the Afrikaner culture, but also for the South African heritage in its totality.
“We will thus involve all stakeholders to ensure that our heritage is also protected for the coming generations,” concludes Du Preez.