Memorial Plaque at University of the Witwatersrand
We were pleased to hear that the screening and discussion of “RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope” in the Great Hall at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in April 2011 acted as a catalyst for a memorial plaque at Wits. (Larry’s undergraduate alma mater).
The Director of Wits Alumni Peter Maher writes:
“The screening of your documentary proved to be the catalyst for the memorial plaque. The observation was made during the discussion after the screening of the film that we have not sufficiently acknowledged, recognised and honoured the role played by Wits and Witsies in challenging and opposing apartheid.
As one direct outcome, and in record speed, the University approved the concept of a commemorative plaque and had it installed and unveiled within a year of the RFK screening (which happily coincided with the premiere screening of a documentary of anti-apartheid demonstrations at Wits over the decades, “Shooting Sardines in a Barrel.”
Press Release about the plaque:
A memorial plaque to honour Witsies who opposed apartheid was unveiled at an alumni event on Sunday 10 June. The plaque nestles in a garden on the Macrone Piazza beneath the Affirmation banner draped on the pillars of the Great Hall for the occasion. It reads:
In honour of all those staff, students and alumni who sacrificed much, fought bravely and raised voices for justice, freedom and democracy in the dark and difficult years of apartheid in South Africa. 10 June 2012.
A clutch of around 50 alumni – seated cinema-style outside the Great Hall and huddling around burning braziers this icy June afternoon – witnessed the unveiling by Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Loyiso Nongxa.
Indicating the Affirmation banner behind him, the VC alluded to the original banner, displayed on 16 April 1959, which affirmed the University’s “commitment to the idea of a university open to men and women without regard to race or colour”. Since democratisation in the 90s, Wits has “had the chance to reflect sometimes in very painful ways on its past, as well as its future role in a democracy.”