Tiro, Abram Onkgopotse (1947-1974)

Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to start off by borrowing language from our former Prime Minister, Mr. Vorster. Addressing an Afrikaner Student Bond (A.S.B) Congress in June last year, Mr. Vorster said: “No Black man has landed in trouble for fighting for what is legally his”. Although I don’t know how far true this is, I make this statement my launch pad.

R.D. Briensmead, an American lay preacher says “he who withholds the truth or debars men from motives of its expediency, is either a coward, a criminal or both”. Therefore Mr. Chancellor, I will try as much as possible to say nothing else but the truth. And to me “truth” means “practical reality”.

Addressing us on the occasion of the formal opening of this university Mr. Phatudi, a Lebowa territorial authority officer, said that in as much as there is American Education, there had to be Bantu Education. Ladies and gentlemen, I am conscientiously bound to differ with him. In America there is nothing like R.D. Briensmead, Red Indian Education and White American Education. They have American Education common to all Americans. But in South Africa, we have Bantu Education, Indian Education, Colored Education and European Education. We do not have a system of education common to all South Africans. What is there in European education which is not good for the African? We want a system of education which is common to all South Africans.

In theory Bantu Education gives our parents a say in our education but in practice the opposite is true. At this University, University Education Diploma (U.E.D) students are forced to study Philosophy of the Education through the medium of Afrikaans. When we want to know why, we are told that the Senate has decided so. Apparently this Senate is our parents.

Time and again I ask myself how Black lecturers contribute to the administration of this university. For if you look at all committees,they are predominantly white, if not completely white. Here and there one finds two or three Africans who, in the opinion of students are white Black men. We have a Students’ Dean without duties. We feel that if it is in anyway necessary to have a Students’ Dean, we must elect our own Dean. We know people who can represent us.

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