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Media Statement:  University of Pretoria and students reach a settlement

Attention: Editors and reporters

Date: 12 December 2014

In December 2014, the South African Human Rights Commission successfully mediated a dispute between the University of Pretoria and two university students who painted their faces black to attend a 21st dress up party.

During the mediation, the students shared their experiences following posting photographs of themselves on Facebook. The students explained that they did not mean to cause harm by their actions.

The students apologized unconditionally, which the University accepted.

In their apology, the students explained how they have become more aware of the need to act in a manner that recognizes the diverse sensitivities of our society and pledged to act with this in mind in future.

The students said: “To those who were offended, angered or humiliated by our actions, we offer our sincere apologies. We intended no harm and take full responsibility for our actions”.
As a result of the process, the students are entitled to return to the residence in 2015.

The University expressed its commitment to transformation and explained that the incident had highlighted the need to enhance and expand its programmes on transformation and respect for human rights.

The Commission, sitting as a constitutional body and having heard the parties, accepts the apology of the students, the collective commitment of the parties to the promotion of respect for human rights and the outcome of the mediatory process.

The Commission calls on the public to accept the apology of the students and support the University’s commitment to transformation.


Issued by the SA Human Rights Commission

Isaac Mangena, Spokesperson
071 884 8273

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

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