Petition to revoke Oxford law student’s scholarship racks up more than 20,000 signatures in 24 hours

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By Katie King on

Latest outburst from student behind the ‘Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford’ campaign saw young waitress reduced to tears


A petition calling for Oxford University to revoke a controversial law student’s post-grad scholarship has drummed up overwhelming support from the public.

The petition, posted just one day ago, has totted up over 20,000 signatures, more than 80% of its overall target of 25,000.

The petition calls for Ntokozo Qwabe — a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) student — to have his scholarship revoked by the university, following a recent, well-publicised bust-up between the Rhodes scholar and a young waitress in South Africa.


Qwabe has caused more than a little controversy in his time at the elite university. The aspiring lawyer made a name for himself last year when he championed the ‘Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford’ campaign. The student-driven movement called for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a 19th century imperialist, from the world-class university, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Despite this, the campaign found its feet and attracted considerable support — but Qwabe himself fell victim to a huge public backlash when it was revealed that he, a Rhodes scholar, was a beneficiary of the imperialist’s estate. He was described as a hypocrite, and there were calls as early as last year for the University of KwaZulu-Natal graduate to give back his scholarship.

Fast-forward to this week and Qwabe is continuing to hit the headlines, this time for boasting about an incident involving a café waitress on his Facebook page.

The BCL-er bragged that he had made a 24 year-old waitress cry “typical white tears” after himself and a friend wrote on their bill “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”.

Though the posts have since been deleted (screenshots below), his actions have not gone unnoticed.


Public support has poured in for the waitress, who is reportedly going through a rough patch in her life due to illness in the family. Well-wishers have been on hand, donating thousands of pounds to her in response to Qwabe’s actions.


Unsurprisingly, the incident has ignited a backlash against the outspoken post-grad law student, which has culminated in the page. Created by Jan Hendrik Ferreira — who spoke out against Qwabe on social media hours before launching the lucrative petition — the campaign has attracted significant public backing.

One supporter tweeted “Shut this little twat up for once and for all”, while another more level-headed commenter went for “great petition idea”. A Twitter user pointed out that there are other wannabe Oxford-goers who are more deserving of the hefty scholarship award, which covers all university fees and living expenses of £13,658 each year.

Others, however, have raised concerns about the petition’s implications on freedom of speech.


Huge row breaks out over whether Oxford law student who wants Cecil Rhodes statue removed should have taken Rhodes scholarship cash [Legal Cheek]

‘Oriel College has basically said f*ck all the black people’: Oxford law student lashes out at uni decision to keep Cecil Rhodes statue [Legal Cheek]