Johannesburg – South Africa was embroiled in a new racial flareup on Monday after a white student was filmed urinating on a black student’s books and laptop at one of the country’s top universities.
Stellenbosch University, which described the incident as “racist”, said it had immediately suspended the undergraduate student, whom it did not name.
According to a cellphone video circulating on social media, the man barged into the first-year black student’s room at a hall of residence in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, and then urinated on his belongings.
The university “strongly condemns the destructive, hurtful and racist incident”, Stellenbosch said in a statement.
Wim de Villiers, the university’s vice-chancellor, said, “We are appalled by this type of behaviour. Such conduct will not be tolerated at the university.”
South Africa has been roiled by a string of racial disputes that have exposed deep divisions 28 years after the end of white-minority rule.
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The South African Students’ Congress said the victim had been asleep “when he heard noise in his room”.
“When he woke up, the racist white boy was urinating on his study desk, books and on his laptop,” it said in a statement.
Asked what he was doing, the “racist response was that it is what they do to black boys,” it said.
The university’s students representative council said the incident was an example of “the harm that follows marginalised communities, and in this case, Black students.”
Protests were held on the campus on Monday, gathering students of all races.
Many South Africans, including former students, took to social media to vent their anger about Stellenbosch, with some saying the university – regularly ranked as one of the best in Africa – had an entrenched problem with elitism and racism.
De Villiers, in the statement, said, “We acted swiftly and decisively to uphold our commitment to a culture of inclusivity.
“What happened… is not acceptable. No student has the right to diminish another student’s human dignity or rights in this way.”