AfriForum Youth holds an “affirmative action coffee shop”

AfriForum Youth was ordered by Security of the University of Pretoria (UP) today to end their campaign against racial profiling after the organisation had sold coffee at different prices to students from different races. Dr Matete Madiba, Dean of Student Affairs at the UP, ordered AfriForum Youth to end the action against racial profiling immediately.

AfriForum Youth UP celebrated Freedom Day by depicting the impact of racial profiling at the UP by selling coffee to white students at R5 per cup, while coloured and Indian students paid R3 and black students paid only R1. ANC supporters qualified for free coffee if they made a donation to the corruption fund.

“Why does a university prohibit you from driving a campaign for a non-racial society? We may speak on behalf of students, because 97% of students at Tuks voted YES for the abolition of racial profiling earlier this year,” said Barend Taute, Chairperson of AfriForum Youth UP.

“19 years after South Africa was ostensibly freed from racial profiling, students at the UP are still admitted based on their race. Students want to be free from racial profiling, and this action is a way to show how inane racial bias has become,” said Taute.

Students lined up to buy their coffee at “affirmative action prices” and mark their protest against racial profiling in a light-hearted way. Students on the campus were very positive about the way in which affirmative action had been depicted on campus. Others expressed their dissatisfaction on social media that they had to pay different prices for coffee because they belonged to different races. According to Taute, these reactions are telling, as students frequently accept affirmative action as a part of life, until it is applied in a different context and it becomes clear how a policy based on races can disadvantage individuals.

According to Taute, this action is a practical depiction of the true impact of affirmative action on students. “Students at the UP are tired of racial discrimination,” said Taute.

In faculties such as Veterinary Sciences and Health Sciences, race is still determining factor, but in residences the campaign of AfriForum Youth against racial profiling is making inroads. In 2012 AfriForum Youth received several complaints from residences regarding the quota system used in the election of house committees (HCs), but after AfriForum had followed up with the UP, it was agreed to have one test residence where the quota would be lowered to 2 students per HC instead of 5. According to Taute, students who apply for bursaries and loans are also selected according to their race. AfriForum Youth has scheduled a meeting for 7 May with the national management of the National Research Foundation (NRF) to discuss the principle of avoiding racial bias in the allocation of bursaries.

AfriForum Youth wants to see racial profiling at universities gradually eliminated, and wants to make students aware of the true impact of affirmative action policy on individuals and the country as a whole.