- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Racist university video causes outrage in S.Africa
- Date: 28th February 2008
- Summary: PEOPLE WALKING ON STREET
- Embargoed: 14th March 2008 12:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAI0X8SPWBV5JKUBM103MTQ0SW
- Story Text: A video of white South African university students feeding black campus cleaners soup they had urinated in has caused outrage in a country scarred by decades of apartheid.
University classes were cancelled and staff and students protested on Wednesday (February 27), demanding action against the four men.
The video shows one student urinating into a container of soup placed on a toilet seat at the University of the Free State, situated in a conservative Afrikaner farming region.
"This is the final ingredient," he said before heating the soup in a microwave oven and giving it to the elderly cleaners -- four women and one man.
They were also taken to a bar where they drank alcohol and danced to Afrikaans music in what was portrayed as an initiation ceremony.
The leaked video -- filmed last year -- sparked black and white students to demonstrate at the campus, marching to the Reitz men's residence where it was made.
Police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Five students were arrested and there were sporadic incidents of intimidation and damage to property, the university said.
President of the university Beatrice Marshoff addressed the protesters and asked for calm, "I know that your emotions are running very high, we are all very, very upset with what we have seen on those videos. I think you are justified with the reactions that you want to take, but we are pleading with you, please, you are here on this campus to come and learn, you are here on this campus, because you have the right to be here," she said.
At the Reitz residence, students presented Marshoff with a petition with student signatures protesting against the makers of the video.
The video, released by South Africa's eTV, has made big news in the country, where white minority rule ended with multi-racial elections in 1994.
"They should go to jail, because obviously they don't know what it is to pay for something that you have done," Pamela Sigidi, a student at another university in Johannesburg said.
"Because all this time that black people have had to suffer, they don't know anything about suffering."
The university said it had instructed its attorneys to file criminal charges against the students.
Two of the students in the video had completed their studies and are no longer on campus.
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