Activist leaves many at Jansen book launch red-faced

Jonathan Jansen File picture: Raymond Preston

A #FeesMustFall leader’s unsurprising appearance at former vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen’s book launch left his audience red-faced.

Chumani Maxwele‚ also a main instigator of the #RhodesMustFall movement, accused Jansen of being out of touch with the struggle of black parents and complained that the audience was mostly white.

When Jansen tried to answer, Maxwele interrupted him.

In his book‚ As by Fire‚ Jansen interviews the vice-chancellors of South Africa’s 11 universities to get their perspective on campus protests since 2015.

Maxwele denied that his appearance at the event was connected to University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Max Price’s linking him to Independent Media boss Iqbal Surve.

In the book, Price accused Surve of using publications under his control to “to present stories about UCT in a way that would discredit its management”.

Price believed Surve had paid for lawyers who represented Maxwele after his suspension from the university.

“Each time [Chumani] had senior counsel arguing the case [in court].

“We think [the senior counsel] came from Iqbal because Iqbal approached one of my friends to ask that he act for Chumani‚” Price wrote in the book.

After the launch at The Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday‚ Maxwele said his lawyers had never received any money for their services.

“For Dr Price to use me in his squabbles with Mr Surve is really disingenuous‚” he said.

Jansen said he did not feel Maxwele had disrupted his talk.

“I thought he made some very valuable points. I think it’s very important to listen to him. I think we’d be foolish not to listen to him.”

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