Adam Habib, formerly Vice Chancellor of Wits University, has been asked to step aside from one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world while his use of the n-word is investigated.
Habib, a brilliant and highly-regarded leftwing intellectual, is director of the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, a post he has held since January.
He used the n-word in a meeting with students.
One student asked how the university intends addressing anti-black racism. During his reply, Habib used the n-word and became defensive.
After the video above went viral, Habib took to Twitter to explain himself, in a thread in which he used the n-word word again.
He said he had used the word to sketch out a scenario of what should happen if a staff member used the word. “Did I use the word: yes I verbalised the word in the context of explaining that if it was used by a staff member against another, it would be a violation of our policy and action would be taken.”
He said the criticism hinged on a “deliberate distortion used for despicable political agendas.”
“Do I think I did something wrong? No, for reasons I explained above. However I did apologise because some individuals felt offended, and it was the right thing to do. Did it make a difference? No, because some focus on a politics of spectacle. These are my final words on the issue.”
Before he was technically suspended, Habib’s last book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, was about the state of the country’s social and political development since 1994.
Photo source: SOAS
Video source: Twitter