Controversy hit Stellenbosch after Nazi-era inspired posters went up on campus earlier this week. A mass meeting was subsequently held on the Rooiplein on 11 May.
Earlier this week, 12 Nazi-inspired posters were put up around campus. This led to the suspension of Dean Dart, a BA student at Stellenbosch, and two other students.
“I didn’t create them and I also didn’t put them up. However, I was going to be a spokesperson. Not for an organisation because that organisation does not exist,” said Dart in an interview with MatieMedia.
“It has, to some degree, become a social project now,” said Dart. He explained that the aim of the posters was to open up a conversation. “The student protests and the environment they created portray everything that the posters represent.”
“We were just hoping that people were going to arrive in protest and have a discussion about what is happening to the left,” he said in response to what he expected to happen at the gathering on Thursday. “The hope was that we could reason at least.”
“The posters are a mirror image of the left because the left has become exceptionally intolerant,” he said.
“We used extreme imagery because what has happened to the left is that they have become that which they despise. By not being allowed to speak, the crowd proved my point,” he argued.
“The Nazi imagery was merely a tool. A tool to be used for introspection.”
“What has happened with the left is that they are not even willing to listen. They’re very willing to be very derogatory and shut people down,” he continues.
He speaks of mostly far-left elements and states that he believes the left and right both have valid points. However, he also has criticisms.
“The left has become exceptionally intolerant,” Dart continues. He believes that their views are completely alienating them from “normal” people who would not consider themselves leftist.
“It blew far greater out of proportion than expected. We didn’t expect it to get as big.”
The “Anglo-Afrikaner” term was used to create exclusivity. He argues that there are exclusive societies on campus that would cut out certain people. They wanted to expose this.
While a Google search of Dart’s name shows that he has distributed alt-right propaganda and was the treasurer of Front Nasionaal (a nationalist party), he says that he is no longer serving in this position.
Dart’s twitter account contains a number of right-wing pictures posted in 2016:
In response to the photos he said: “We all change the whole time. The person we are today is not the same as the one yesterday and it’s not the same as the one six months or a year ago.”
Front Nasionaal’s Facebook account, on 12 May, made a post in which reference is made to Dart as a “student representative of FN”.
*This story has been updated
*Dart identified as a Linguistics student but he is in fact studying BA Language and Culture. This has been changed.