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Everything You Need to About the #RhodesWar Round Table

Yolanda Dyantyi tells her side of the story.

‘I’m not alone. It’s not just me who has been excluded or the two women, even though we’ve been excluded permanently. There’s a number of us that have been attacked by the institution. Gross misconduct has been applied to almost each and everyone’s case,’ Dyantyi tells COSMO.

The #RhodesWar has begun read up about how it all started here.

Misinformation, misconception and myth – Yolanda Dyantyi is not having any of it.

‘We don’t treat rape as real as it is and as sensitive as it is. The laws are not capable or transformed enough to deal with the complexities of sexual assault and harassment,’ says Dyantyi about her reasons for participating in the institution’s protests against sexual violence last year.

Dyantyi, including panel members from the womanist collective Black Womxn’s Caucus, the WITS Gender Equity office and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), held a media conference this morning in Johannesburg to break the silence and fill the gaps in context for the #RhodesWar.

SERI is the non-profit advocating on Dyantyi’s behalf. Their representative, Director of Litigation Nomzamo Zondo, unveiled the legal loopholes in the case against Dyantyi and her co-accused, Dominique McFall.

We have the facts you need to know:

#RhodesWar is trending because some people never stopped believing in Us, in #RuReferenceList, in Me. Some of you,…

Posted by Yolanda Dyantyi on Monday, 11 December 2017

Dyantyi is not guilty

She hasn’t even been lawfully charged. After the wave of protests escalated to boiling point where survivors of sexual violence and activists confronted suspected perpetrators, Dyantyi was found to be a member of the protestors. They charged her thereafter.

‘I don’t have a criminal record for kidnapping or assault, I was not found guilty.’ explains Dyantyi.

Zondo explained that the high court found Dyantyi guilty by association. What we also didn’t know is that the court is punishing the protestors as a group, not individually. Rhodes is essentially targeting Dyantyi and her co-accused for only admitting to being part of the #RUReferenceList resistance.

Dyantyi has not been charged by the SAPS. She has only been charged by the internal reviewing body of Rhodes for kidnapping, assault, insubordination, and defamation. Mcfall has been charged with kidnapping and insubordination.

Zondo explains Rhodes has the authority to give her disciplinary action or suspension, but they have not found her guilty of the crimes they’ve projected onto her. Nor has a court of South African law.

Dyantyi didn’t have a trial

Rhodes has policy in place that allows even suspended students to write their exams. They did not grant Dyantyi this right. Her hearing coincided with her final exams, and so SERI and Dynatyi tried to negotiate postponing the hearing by 24 hours. Rhodes refused.

‘They proceeded without us. They said Yolanda wavered her right to appeal by not attending. They told us Yolanda is someone who doesn’t comply with the rules, therefore she cannot write her remaining exam,’ said Zondo.

The Rhodes administration instead made the ruling without Dyantyi even being present to give her side of the story. She was not cross-examined or allowed to provide evidence like a few of her co-accused.

Dyantyi’s appeal

A Black Womxn Caucus representative explained the #RhodesWar is a microcosm of what’s happening in South Africa, ‘It’s called #RhodesWar because Rhodes has declared war on our black bodies and intersectional bodies. We will be the victors. We will make sure it’s legal and lawful response we need.’

Along with her legal team and the organisation behind her, Dyantyi is taking her story to the high court with evidence to appeal the decision of Rhodes administration. ‘They made it that much harder for Yolanda to seek justice. They would have allowed her an internal review but the university wants to make an example out of her,’ says Zondo.

Without this appeal, Dyantyi will not able to complete her degree. Rhodes has ensured other avenues or options for her are closed. If she wishes to go to another university, her transcript must reflect her alleged crime of kidnapping.

‘No university will accept someone who’s been banned for life, accused of kidnapping and all because we protested rape culture and were found to be insubordinate to the vice-chancellor of Rhodes,’ says Dyantyi.

Dyantyi is not the only one

She emphasised throughout her time on the floor that Rhodes is on a crusade to purge black women across campus for resistance against gender-based violence. Dyantyi says this is racialised, gendered and a gross injustice.

Seven women are currently banned from continuing their studies and completing their degrees, with evidence of their attendance at Rhodes allegedly erased from the system, like Noxolo Mfocwa.

‘I want to give strength to the women who have been trageted, to every student activist who has fought for free education,the dismantling of rape culture and all issues. Thank you to everyone,’ says Dyantyi.

How to help

  • Sign the petition and spread the word!

Legal Aid Advice Line (Free)

  • Call 0800 110 110 (toll-free) or the Please Call Me service through 079 835 7179
  • Legal-aid.co.za

POWA

  • Call their HQ: 011 642 4335
  • Download the free POWA GBV app for Android or iOS to report abuse and find help centres near to you

TEARS Jo’burg: SMS *134*7355#

Rape Crisis Cape Town:  Crisis Line 021 447 9762

*The University Currently Known As Rhodes Is The Decolonised And Appropriate Term For The Institution In An Attempt To Reject The Legacy Of Oppression And Racism Of Cecil John Rhodes.

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