Youth Leading Change: Views on #FeesMustFall , 3

Over the last few days, the youth of our country have taken action. They are standing up for what they believe in. Our vision as enke, is to create a global movement of young people who are taking action on the world’s most urgent social issues. #FeesMustFall demonstrates young people mobilizing and working to create the future they want to see.

enke has been moved and inspired and we continue to be as we see moments that are shaping the history of South Africa. enke will be sharing the thoughts of some of our alumni involved in the movement in universities across the country.

“Every fiber in my being wants to write this in Sepedi so as to express the frustration I am feeling right now. But that would not reach the audience this frustration is directed towards.

I am so disappointed in the adults who grew up under the apartheid regime. They have belittled this protest and its protesters as a bunch of ungrateful black children who feel entitled to everything. This week’s events have definitely put the spotlight on “your children will be born free” nonsense our parents were sold back in 1994. That bubble of dreams is about to burst.

You purposefully choose to focus your attention on the FEW students that vandalize and destroy property, instead of the underlying reasons for these protests. Even though I do not condone such behavior, vandalism during protest action, is not unique to South Africa. Stop acting like you are in utter disbelief that such a thing could happen.#FeesMustFall
Don’t tell me that the timing is really bad, or why can’t we just talk to management?
Year after year the SRC bodies all over the country sit down with university management to plead on our behalf against the ridiculous annual fee increments, but to no avail. These ‘discussions’ always happen behind closed doors with specific timing (towards the year end examinations) so as to deter students from fighting against this. And then, some of you have the nerve to ask why only now? Those who claim to be ‘inconvenienced’ by these protests should just sit down. When have the needs of the few ever justified outweighing the needs of the many?
I for one would have much rather written my exam on the scheduled date. However, I fully understand the principle of this protest and postponing exams by a week or so, is a very small sacrifice for the ideal that education should be accessible to all. But how can it be accessible if one cannot afford to pay for it. We know education comes at a price, we know that. We just do not understand why it is at a price that actively excludes a certain demographic.

This has been going on for years, even before most of us were in high school. The only difference is that the class of 2015 have fully grasped the concept of ‘the power lies in our hands’. For years, young people post ’94 were told that we are apathetic and that we suffer from a severe case of entitlement. As we have witnessed over the past few days, the class of 2015 has risen above political affiliations, race and class to protest against an exclusionary practice. The outcome of which may not even have immediate benefit to them. The class of 2015 has identified who the antagonist in this story is- our government. Universities cannot and should not continue do business in this oligopolistic environment. Our government should have stepped in a long time ago by increasing its subsidies or implementing some sort of regulatory structure, to curb these unjustified fee increases year on year.

Even with all of this said, reality is that I will still be missing my December graduation this year because… wait for it… I cannot afford to pay off my outstanding fees. And you tell me you still don’t understand why there is a protest. My education is not a privilege, it is my right!

#FeesMustFall #FeesWillFall #InOurLifetime

As for mainstream media, they have proven once again that they cannot be trusted. Such one sided stories!”

Maite Rapetsoa
Cape Town

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