23 February 2018 by Kgomotso Archibald
Let’s go back to June 16th 1976, amid the chaos, killing and the most brutal behaviour young people witnessed. Now there was a goal, for the march, the protest, and the #pens_down notioning equally education for all. Now fast forward to late 2015, where the political/educational spheres of the country came to a standstill when university pupils took arms in what is called the 2nd most influential student uprising in the history of education.
The post matric joy for most people turns to be an uphill battle laced with emotional and financial strains. Every matriculant’s dream is to enrol in an institution of their choice to study a field they think it’s suitable for them and/or their personality, however the route to achieve such has been met with financial barriers. Amid the unforeseen consequences of mismanaged funds of the most trusted financial aid NSFAS, face with not having enough to compensate for the previous academic year and the present year, most if not many underprivileged people were left to fend for themselves financially, forcing many to consider “gap year employment,” to at least raise enough for admission etc. However, with the senseless rising of fees it becomes a differed dream to a hopeful soul.
It is said that, “education is the key to success,” be that as it may, fit seems theme keys are only handed to individuals who are able to financially meet the requirements of the respected university. The financial exclusion of most of the university students it’s an issues that has been at the forefront in many learning institutions, followed by diversity.
The #Rhodes_Must_Fall campaign is one example of how exhausted people are about the unsettling race and cultural ratio at the institution. The white supremacy and culture that has for many oppressed people of other races has been left unheeded by the top management, the medium of education is still a barrier to most people, add fees on top of that, and the end result is the burning of Facilities, defacing of statues and an institutional shutdown.
SA having celebrated democracy and the abolishment of racial oppression “being a thing of a past”, one wonders why such behaviour is still allowed. The underlying fact being that each is offered the same opportunity, when thoroughly scrutinized one sees the underlying message, “its every race for itself,” has people questioning the very essence of democracy, Ubuntu and reconciliation. Political parties, local and international celebrities and other institutions also came together in solidarity with the movement. One wonders, “How do you convince upcoming generations that v is the key to success when they would be surrounded by poor graduates and rich criminals?
When we thought the worst was over, 28 schools in Vuwani were torched down, this done by elderly people who happen to be gatvol about service delivery in that region. It makes one wonder, are we setting our children up for failure? Do we allow them to get but so far only to hold them back and hinder their growth?
In the midst of it all, this movement seemed to have caught the attention of many socialites, we witnessed how national and international celebrities, voiced their concerns with regards to the movement, how they used social media platforms and others went so far as to be present at the many different institutions to not only support from afar but to also be there in person.
Personally, I am a very big fan of literature, I believe that the wealth of this nation, the wealth of the Youth lies in books, sure enough, most if not all of the books have a hidden agenda, but in some instances, they would if they have not already aid you to better your life, so you can imagine my disappointment when a well know SA artist posted a pic atop burning books with his fist in the air. As a human being, and having little knowledge to the background story of the picture, I retaliated, because to me, the timing of the picture and his campaign seemed not well thought, you would with everything going on that people would show a bit of empathy, but then again, we always find ways to use others’ setbacks to our advantage.
If these campaigns taught us anything is that, as a nation we should not shy away from voicing what really matters, we must stand in solidarity and speak out about things that affect our future, the future of our children and that of the coming generations. We must always fight for what is right, and stand up against corruption, unfair treatment and bad mismanagement, however, we should do so in a manner that’s peaceful, humane and in accordance with the law.