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Monday, May 17, 2021

Outgoing UCT vice-chancellor farewell cut short by protesting students

Jenna Etheridge

A farewell event for outgoing University of Cape Town (UCT) vice-chancellor Max Price was cut short on Monday afternoon after a group of protesters drowned out proceedings with their singing, the university said.

On its website and on social media, UCT invited students to join it in the Memorial Hall for a “heartfelt send-off” for Price and promised a “fun-filled celebration” with live entertainment.

A small group arrived and held up posters with slogans such as “UCT and exploitation”, “Decriminalise Fees Must Fall” and “Workers pay Max Price”.

They also sang struggle songs.

UCT spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said the group’s singing was so loud that the event could not continue.

“It is a great disappointment as many students had gathered to recognise the [vice-chancellor’s] contribution to UCT [and] were not able to hear from him and share their thanks for his contribution to UCT over 10 important years at the university.”

 Price did not end up delivering his speech.

He did, however, have time to pose with students for selfies and enjoy a marimba band and other entertainment at some point.

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng will take over the reins when Price steps down from his position on June 30.

Price was no stranger to these interruptions, having dealt with a string of protests related to the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall movements over the last few years. – News24

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