August 2023 marked the 55-year anniversary of 1968 sit-in, which defended the appointment of Archie Mafeje to UCT academic staff against the apartheid government’s demand to withdraw the job offer because he was black.
At this watershed event in UCT’s history, 600 UCT students marched from Jameson Hall (now Sarah Baartman) to the Bremner Administration building and embarked on a 9-day sit-in to protest the apartheid state’s racist university policies and, the Council overturning the appointment of black scholar and social anthropologist Archie Mafeje to a post as a senior lecturer, after pressure from the government to do so. The protesting students 9-day peaceful sit-in occupation of Bremner resulted in starkly dividing opinion and was front-page news around South Africa.
In 2008, at a 40-year reunion of the veterans of the sit-in, the group established a bursary fund, ‘The Spirit of ‘68’ to support UCT postgraduate students engaging in good research on the causes and cures of social exclusion. The bursary has run for 10 years and supported 22 postgraduate students. For many of these students, the financial support they received from the bursary, while relatively small, made a huge difference in supporting the practicalities of their research and giving them much needed opportunities. This has generated a great deal of goodwill and we would love to harness this spirit of goodwill across the globe with our alumni…
Click here to read the Spirit of ’68 report detailing the events of 1968, the 9 day sit-in protest and how the bursary set up by the veterans has impacted the lives of the potgraduate students it has supported.