- In 2015, UCT student Chumani Maxwele threw human faeces at a statue of Cecil John Rhodes, which sparked student activism and movements throughout universities in the country
- Chumani's performance was a protest against UCT’s purported institutional racism
- The student's activism inspired many young people in the country to get involved with politics
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On 9 March, 2015, the face of student activism changed forever when UCT student Chumani Maxwele threw human faeces at a statue of Cecil John Rhodes that was situated on the campus of the University of Cape Town.
This is what sparked student activism and movements throughout universities in the country.
Chumani has gone down in the South African history books as a political activist best known for his involvement in the #RhodesMustFall and the #FeesMustFall movements.
Briefly.co.za learned that the 2015 protest was not the first time that Maxwele got into trouble with the state or the law; in 2010 he was wrongfully arrested and interrogation for allegedly giving an obscene hand gesture to former President Jacob Zuma's presidential motorcade convoy in Cape Town.
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According to SA History Online Chumani's protest, staged as a political performance, was in response to the lack of attention given to the symbols on campus that are physical reminders of white supremacy and black subjugation and oppression that is rooted in South Africa.
Chumani's activism inspired many young people in the country to get involved with politics, including the EEF's Peter Howe, who said in a Briefly.co.za report that the realisation to join the EFF dawned on him around the time of the #RhodesMustFall protest actions.
“I was asking, why are they so affected by a statue, it can’t hurt you, and it’s got political history. Then with #feesmustfall I asked things like: ‘Why must they block the entire road? It is such an inconvenience’," said Peter Howe.
His actions were to protest against UCT’s purported institutional racism and an appraisal of the lack of transformation on campus.
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