A video, released by one of CUPE’s sister unions in South Africa, shows middle-aged black university cleaning employees, members of the National Health, Education and Allied Workers’ Union, being duped into eating food that had human urine in it.
Made by four white Afrikaners students, the video depicts the students filming themselves urinating into a stew before feeding it to five black staff members at their dormitory with shouts of “take it, take it”.
Revelations about the incident at the University of the Free State have caused angry protests across the country and led to criticism that racism remains entrenched in South Africa despite the end of apartheid rule in the early 1990s.
The video was made last year, but NEHAWU made it public in late February. The three women and one man shown in the video are on leave and getting counselling, reports say. Two white students have been suspended. The other two are no longer at the university. Criminal charges are being prepared.
Apparently, the students shot the video to prove that blacks behave in an inhuman manner and therefore should not be integrated into the white dormitory. The university council had approved an integration policy last year.
The students had edited out the urine and drinking part to tone it down, NEHAWU regional secretary Mogale Mphahlele said. But “we received a tip off and got our hands on the original part which we have distributed to the media.”
“We are taken aback by this barbaric act,” NEHAWU Free State provincial secretary Fusi Nchabeng wrote in a statement on Feb. 29. This rolls back “the hard gained democracy.”
“NEHAWU members in the University of Free State were made slaves to the master, coerced to participate in the act that is degrading to their integrity and abusive,” Nchabeng said.