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Fort Hare agrees to consider proposed name change to Robert Sobukwe University

By Yolanda Palezweni - Oct 19, 2017
Fort Hare agrees to consider proposed name change to Robert Sobukwe University

The University of Fort Hare management has agreed to consider a proposal submitted by the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) in the Eastern Cape that it changes its name to Robert Sobukwe University.

This after the PAC delivered a memorandum of demands to the university’s management, demanding the name change on the 27th of February this year. However, at a meeting on the 29th September, between the university’s management and the PAC representatives, the parties agreed again to meet on 16th of October to further discuss the matter.

According to PAC Eastern Cape Provincial spokesperson, Ndiyakholwa Ngqula, the meeting did happen and was attended by him, PAC Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Khwezi Dalasile; Provincial Secretary Sandla Goqwana, and PAC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, Sithembiso Malusi, as well as representatives from the University of Fort Hare, who included Vice Chancellor, Professor Sakhele Buhlungu, and Deputy Vice Chancellor,  Professor Gilingwe Mayende, and two executive members.

Ngqula said that the meeting debated number of issues and came to number of resolutions.

He said that the Fort Hare management also apologised for its late responses on the matter and clarified why there were delays.

According to PAC Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Goqwana, the management requested that "we submit a discussion document on the name change with the concept we are coming of decolonising the university, which in principle will talk to name change".

“We agreed that we need also to open discussion of the matter as well with university alumni. Whilst on their side they will submit the discussion document to the council for consideration,” said Goqwana, adding that the management further requested that they must deposit to their archives their liberation historical documents.

"In principle, they are open to the discussion on the matter, but there are numerous stakeholders that need to be involved.

“It became clear that the question of changing the name of the university might be welcomed, but they still need to convince quite a number of key university stakeholders."

Goqwana further said that they made it clear that the matter ought to be endorsed by the university's council after due consultation with the university stakeholders and such a process will be kick-started by them submitting a discussion document, "which we have to submit before end of this term".

“The management after we have filled formal proposal will take it to council as the highest decision making body to also debate the issue,” he said.

He concluded that the PAC on 28th October will take the matter to the PAC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, so that the drafted document can receive the blessings of the national leadership before submission to the university's council secretary.