Black South African students Jamie Mithi and Khanyisa Pinini will host “Let’s Talk about Apartheid” at Isla Vista Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 9, where they will share their experiences with apartheid and discuss the misconception in labeling Israel as an apartheid state.
Mithi was ranked first in Africa and fourth globally for his talents in debate, and Pinini is active in journalism, student government and is a member of the United Nations Association of South Africa. During the event, Mithi and Pinini will discuss their experiences living through the South African apartheid and how the meaning of the word apartheid is changing.
Kayla Shenassa, second-year classics major and host of the event, said she wants to encourage people to think critically before reaching conclusions about apartheid and learn about the importance and relevance of the issue.
“It’s giving me opportunity to help teach and educate my peers about an issue that is really important and crucial to world history, not just South Africa or the Middle East,” Shenassa said. “It’s something that can apply even here in the U.S. where we’ve had to deal with serious race issues, even in this day and age.”
Bridget Haus, third-year statistics major, said she studied abroad in South Africa last quarter and witnessed how apartheid still affects the community.
“There were many protests, riots and shut down of university due to lack of progress for the black race post apartheid,” Haus said in an email.
Andrea Keys, fourth-year linguistics major, said she appreciates the opportunity to learn from people who experienced apartheid first hand.
“I have only been able to learn about apartheid via the Internet and from YouTube and movies, so it will be an amazing experience to learn about it from people who actually lived through it,” Keys said in an email.
Emily Wettleson, fourth-year communication and classics major, said silence never brings any change and she appreciates that this event discusses a topic usually left unaddressed.
“I’ve always felt that quote-unquote ‘uncomfortable’ issues like apartheid are not discussed enough because of the sheer heinous nature of what happened,” Wettleson said in an email.
Tyler Koontz, fourth-year theater and dance major in the Bachelor of Fine Arts acting program, said issues like apartheid should be discussed to learn from social injustices of the past.
“The subjects and histories of such injustice should be talked about and taught so that we may hopefully learn and move toward a more progressive and equal state of being,” Koontz said in an email.
Shenassa said her goal is to inspire people to care about apartheid and encourage people to think critically.
“My biggest goal would be to open people’s eyes — to get people who may not have cared about this issue or anything connected to this, to think about it for even a minute,” Shenassa said.
Shenassa said she hopes events such as this one will motivate students to think about current issues in the changing world.
“It’s started by one thought — one person or a few people coming together and thinking and discussing and moving forward with bringing events like this to campus and going beyond that,” Shenassa said. “Hopefully I can get at least one person to think critically, to care.”
The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and free pizza will be served to attendees.