Ntokozo Qwabe: Student who accused Oxford of propping-up ‘existence of systemic racism’ says he is ‘tired’ of being asked why he goes to the university

Qwabe insists: 'So called 'British institutions' were built on the colonial plunders of my resources, and on the labour of my people who were enslaved'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Wednesday 30 December 2015 17:30 GMT
(Ntokozo Qwabe/Facebook)

The Oxford law student who accused his own university of normalising and propping-up the “existence of systemic racism” has said he is growing tired of the ‘why go to Oxford?’ question being asked by the public.

Ntokozo Qwabe, who studies the coveted Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) course at the university, added in a post on his Facebook: “I am tired at the buffoonery of being told that I should have stayed at my OWN institutions in Afrika [sic] instead of going to THEIR institutions and asking them to change.”

The student, originally from the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa and a former teaching assistant at the University of Cape Town, first created debate this week when it emerged he posted a message onto Facebook, two days after the Paris attacks, in which he said: “ I do NOT stand with France. Not while it continues to terrorise and bomb Afrika [sic] & the Middle East for its imperial interests.”

Then, speaking with The Sunday Times, he said the French flag was a “violent symbol,” adding: “I would agree with that in the same way that the presence of a Nazi flag would have to be fought against.”

The student - who is a co-founder of the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford movement which is campaigning to remove a “racist” statue of the 19th Century colonialist Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College - also, this week, went on to hit out at the British media for feeding a “racist myth,” and insisted Oxford produces graduates with an “unjustly skewed view of the world.”

Nous Sommes Unis

Hitting back at claims of “hypocrisy” on his part after it emerged Qwabe reportedly accepted a scholarship in the name of Cecil Rhodes to help him study for the prestigious BCL qualification at Oxford, which is said to be held by several top barristers, the student insisted he was a “beneficiary of the resources & labour of MY people which Rhodes pillaged & enslaved.”

He also added: “We can NEVER be ‘hypocrites’ for taking back crumbs of the colonial loot of Rhodes & his colonial cronies.”

Now, though, after revealing the public has been asking him why he even studies at the institution - even though he has strong views on it - he insisted “Oxford is as much MY institution as anyone else.”

Qwabe continued: “So called ‘British institutions’ were built (and have continued to be sustained) on the colonial plunders of MY resources, and on the labour of MY people who were enslaved.

“These are OUR institutions and we have every right to challenge them to change so as to reflect OUR realities. We have every right to ask them to break away from unjust practices. The reason why Rhodes Must Fall Oxford is constituted of people from all parts of the world (including Britain itself) is because your outdated ‘US’ and ‘THEM’ narratives are no longer tenable in the 21st century.

“We refuse to be outsiders in our OWN institutions. The struggle continues.”

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