RhodesMustFall Podcast

I edited a podcast on Audacity. I’m still learning. This time I recorded a live event and interviews and then edited it together with commentary. It feels good to be able to do this, without my CI I am totally deaf and it is impossible to hear recorded sound, never mind edit it. Here is the transcript. The pastor’s speech was amazing.

Transcript:
(Crowd singing struggle song).

Pastor Xola Skosana (speaking slowly on microphone to animated crowd): To equate Black pain with poverty or lack of food is to reduce Black people to an animalistic existence of eating defecating and dying.

Sophie Woolley: And that was Pastor Xola Skosana speaking at the Rhodes Must Fall rally. More from him, later in the podcast.

(Crowd singing.)

SW: On 9 April 2015 The university of Cape Town bowed to student demands to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes. A couple of hours before the removal, I went along to the mass rally outside the building the students had occupied, to hear what people had to say. It was a happy occasion, there was a lot of singing, performance and speeches.

(Singing)

The movement grew out of a direct action by Chumani Maxwele’s three weeks previously, when he threw human excrement at the Rhodes Statue. In the last 3 years poo protests have become common. Chumani Maxwele’s act triggered a movement to remove the statue, it’s continued existence in pride of place symbol of how little UCT had changed for black students, staff and workers, since the end of apartheid. It was a symbol of how Euro centric the teaching was, and how white the staff. The movement want to belatedly decolonise UCT. It wanted to explain the extent of black pain.

The movement was about wider issues than the statue, but spurred on by support from black academics, and universities around the world and angered by the lack of management action, racist abuse from white students and the general public, the statue became non negotiable. The rhodesmustfall movement gathered momentum and the protestors won an incredible victory. When I went the rally the protestors in a proud and celebratory mood, but as one lecturer explained, the fight wasn’t over.

LECTURER:

…we must be mindful that the struggle has just begun and there is still a lot of work to do before we can say that UCT is truly an African university.

(Crowd singing).

I spoke to performing arts student Yolanda Benya, one of the organisers, who had been sleeping at Azania House, for about three weeks since the movement began. formerly known as Bremner House.

Interview with Yolanda Benya….noise from crowd….(I couldn’t hear everything she said).
Sophie:We’ve just come onto the rugby field, heading to the Rhodes Statue, and there is a huge crowd of people from Azania house and I’m with Yolanda.
Yolanda:Yeah!
Sophie: How does this make you feel?
Yolanda: I just want to say that me being here is for my family, the ones who are working in the mine…
Sophie: Why do you think so many people have come?
Yolanda: I think because they recognise that the statue has to go down at some point and the RhodesMustFall committee made sure that this thing happened, and the students and working class from Cape Town made sure it happened and the support from outside has been overwhelming.
Sophie:Everyone looks really happy.
Yolanda: Really happy!

(Crowd singing)

Sophie: It was a hot end of summer day, 30 degrees, as the huge procession walked from Azania House, across the rugby pitch to another waiting crowd at the statue. Riggers lifted the statue up in the space of a few seconds and placed it on a crane lorry.

(Crowd whistles, ululates, applauds and cheers).

The crowd was a mixture of all races an ages, students, press and members of the public. At the start of all this, I had initially approved of the poo protest but not the idea of removing the statue. But then I was radicalised by whatsapp and the internet. I saw that the black pain and anger shouldn’t be dismissed and realised I was using an English frame of reference anyway.
I started supporting the movement. I started supporting the rhodesmustfallmovement. But there was a telling moment after Rhodes finally fell. A black student climbed onto the crane lorry and started hitting Rhodes on the head with a wooden stick. I wasn’t standing very close, but reflexively, I ducked, flinched, and raised my hands to protect my own head. It was as if I identified with old Rhodes, the racist colonialist. Like I was being hit on the head.
I’m not sure why I did this.

Like so many things that involve change, rhodesmustfall evokes deep fears, and people respond dismissively out of self-protection. Maybe – I’m just guessing!Transformation frightens the hell out of the heart of whiteness. What next? Who is next? You can’t erase history! This is the sort of knee jerk reaction the movement was getting.

(Crowd chanting, clapping and singing).

Sophie: I spoke to another activist just after the statue fell.

(Noise of crowd…)
Sophie: What’s your name?
My name is Nolufele Ntsuntshe….
Sophie: Okay… How did that make you feel, seeing Rhodes fall?
Nolufele: Relieved in a way, as if a weight has been moved off – taken off my shoulders but I also have the sense that it’s only a step towards a longer ……(inaudible).
SW: Will the next part be more difficult? This was quite easy it took two weeks –
Nolufele: It wasn’t easy! There have been talks and talks over the years and only now, does it look like it was easy, but a whole lot of measure had to be taken by the students so it wasn’t that easy. I’m not expecting anything easy to follow either.
Sophie: You have a big fight on your hands over the next few years.
Nolufele:Yes
Sophie: And hopefully it will get bigger and bigger –
Nolufele: It shouldn’t though! It might get bigger and bigger but it shouldn’t because we are a so called liberated country. We have voices and what not. …words need to be put into action.
Sophie: But now everyone is talking and listening so that’s great. Congratulations!
Nolufele: Thank you.

Sophie: I will leave you with the oratory of Pastor Xola Skosana who spoke at the rally of Rhodes Must fall. I will give you the whole thing as I think it’s pretty good.

Full text of Pastor Xola Skosana’s speech here http://www.mediaforjustice.net/speech-by-pastor-xola-skosana-at-the-mass-meeting-marking-the-removal-of-the-rhodes-statue-from-uc/

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