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Oxford’s Rhodes Must Fall co-founder hits back over waitress altercation: ‘even if she’s working class, she is linked to whiteness’

17 May 2016

8:28 AM

17 May 2016

8:28 AM

Last month Oxford’s Rhodes Must Fall co-founder Ntokozo Qwabe made the news after he revelled in making a waitress shed ‘white tears‘ at a restaurant in Cape Town. The incident occurred after his friend wrote a note to the waitress explaining they would only tip her when she ‘returned the land’. Since then, a crowdfunder has been set up to compensate the ‘white waitress’ for her ordeal, raising thousands of pounds.

So, has Qwabe now come to regret his actions? Alas not. In his first interview since the incident, the activist for Rhodes Must Fall — which claims to tackle institutional racism — has explained to The Daily Vox ‘why disrupting whiteness is necessary’. ‘In light of this being an action to disrupt whiteness, I fully stand by it,’ the Oxford law student declares.


On the subject of the waitress who was left upset by Qwabe and his friend, he says her ‘feelings are irrelevant to us’. He also says that with regards to claims in the media that she is a working class waitress, this is simply irrelevant as she is ‘linked to whiteness’:

‘The act was not directed at Ashleigh, the waitress. Quite frankly, her feelings are irrelevant to us. If you think people demanding a just society in South Africa is a borderline offence then you are clearly out of touch. Her working class status isn’t as material as it is made out to be.

Even if she’s working class, she is linked to whiteness. By virtue of her skin colour, she is privileged. The aftermath has revealed to us that there’s no such thing as “this is an oppressed white person”. There will be lit things that will happen. And it will be scary to whiteness.’

As for the ‘white tears’ — which Qwabe says are metaphorical tears — he says they re-entrench the patriarchy:

‘These innocent white girl tears re-entrenches patriarchy because white women’s tears make white men want to jump in and save white women from all these aggressive black people.’

It seems Qwabe also has no plans to bow to pressure to end his studies at Oxford university:

‘My degrees aren’t going anywhere. My scholarship isn’t going anywhere. The petition to have me removed from the University of Oxford is just another white myth. I’m going back on May 10 to complete the last term of my degree then I’ll have three degrees and return to UCT as a teaching and research assistant.’

Mr S suspects this won’t be the last we hear of Qwabe’s return to Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship.


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