Cape Town – Tension is sky-high ahead of Friday’s centenary celebrations at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape following days of violent protests.
The report said that students started several fires on the campus because the university management has not met all their demands, which include a reduction in their school fees.
Fifteen protestors have been arrested and are expected to appear in court soon.
Police are out in full force at the university and Pretoria said the celebrations will go ahead.
Government spokesman Donald Liphoko, said the presence of security agencies will ensure that the event goes ahead as planned.
“Security agencies are on the ground at Fort Hare to ensure that the celebrations are held in a safe and secure environment”, he said.
President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to address the event and numerous prominent personalities, including alumnus Robert Mugabe, are expected to attend.
The university was a key institution of higher education for black Africans from 1916 to 1959.
It offered a Western-style academic education to students from across sub-Saharan Africa, creating black African elite.
Fort Hare alumni were part of many subsequent independence movements and governments of newly independent African countries.
In 1959, the university was taken over by the apartheid-era authorities, but it is now part of South Africa’s public higher education system.
Several leading opponents of apartheid regime, including Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, Desmond Tutu, Kenneth Kaunda, Julius Nyerere and Joshua Nkomo attended the institution.
Mandela wrote in his autobiography that “For young black South Africans like myself, it was Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, all rolled into one. (PANA/NAN)