- Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has joined the call for the reinstatement of Professor Adam Habib at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies
- Advocate Thuli Madonsela joins the likes of Justice Malala, Palesa Morudu and Barney Pityana as they admitted Adam Habib had erred
- Moreover, Thuli Madonsela and the trio says the former Wits University Professor Adam Habib was an activist in the old South Africa
Ex-public protector Thuli Madonsela believes Professor Adam Habib should be reinstated at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. The seasoned advocate says Habib is not a racist as she joins the likes of Justice Malala, Palesa Morudu and Barney Pityana.
Madonsela’s sentiments come after the former Wits University vice-chancellor was suspended three weeks ago from his new job as SOAS director after he used the N-word during a video meeting with students.
According to a report carried by IOL, the chairman of the board of trustees, Marie Staunton, said Habib has agreed to excuse himself as the matter is still under investigation by the varsity.
Although Madonsela, Malala, Morudu and Pityana admitted that Habib had erred and exercised poor judgment in using the N-word, they also warned SOAS against “allowing the self-righteous to act as universal thought police” - which they believe acted unfairly, said Madonsela, Malala, Morudu and Pityana, as per IOL.
“If this trend is not reversed, books and films that have the N-word will have to be revised or banned. August Wilson’s Fences will have to be pulled from classrooms, along with the works of Mark Twain.
“Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained will be banned or heavily edited. Muhammed Ali’s famous quote about the Viet Cong will have to be erased from history.
“Universities that allow this to happen will contribute to the death of culture and knowledge production. They will no longer be places of learning, opting to become ‘safe spaces’ where diversity of views is not tolerated — and only loud voices that claim to be the ’authentic’ voices of historic oppression.”
The quartet argued that Habib endured unfair treatment in South Africa and his background as an activist means he cannot be a racist. They argued:
“In a university there ought to be a level of intellectual rigour and debate about meanings, strategy, and intended outcomes. Yet the lens of wokeness and identity politics filters out history and context to present both individuals in the same light.
“In the United States, where the N-word has indelible connections to chattel slavery and Jim Crow, the racist announcer kept his job.
“Habib, on the other hand, has been forced to step aside after saying in a context that the use of the N-word would result in disciplinary action. He faces an organised social media campaign that seeks his removal from SOAS, with one online petitioner likening him to a war criminal.
“Sadly, this incident reflects a global trend in which much of the discourse on racism is reduced to identifying the pecking order of historic oppression.”
Also quoting the late Steve Biko, Madonsela, Malala, Morudu and Pityana continued to demand Habib’s reinstatement without delay, saying Biko’s view formed part of the political tradition.
“Biko’s world view formed part of the political tradition that united the oppressed to defeat apartheid and begin forging a non-racial future in the face of organised state violence. This tradition, which unfolded in the real world, has for many years informed Adam Habib’s world outlook.
“In what twisted logic is someone who was subject to racial oppression now accused of racism, told that he cannot claim his heritage, and forbidden to utter certain words because his skin is of a lighter hue?
“The assertion that Habib has no lived experience of black suffering ‘that stretches over 500 years would benefit from a broader reading of history.
“Habib’s lived experience is that of Indians in South Africa, most of whom are descendants of indentured labourers brought to the eastern province of Natal between 1860 and 1911.”
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that Madonsela had offered to help the victims of the Marikana Massacre to get justice. Madonsela was set to use her position as Stellenbosch University’s Law Trust Chair in Social Justice to help the victims.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) expressed their dissatisfaction with the progress of securing justice for the families of the 34 victims of the Marikana Massacre.
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