The #FeesMustFall is a movement led by South African students to protest against the increasing tuition at universities all around the country. Initially, it began late last year at the University of Witwatersrand campus and now other universities like Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town and many others have joined in taking the stand.
When I found out that I was coming to South Africa, I was slightly aware of the protests but never really paid much attention to it. It was until in the last week I got to know first-hand what the movement was all about. There has been a lot of disruption on campus like classes being cancelled and the closing of the library due to the protest but it has all been non-violent.
Granting the focus of the protests is mostly the rise in fees, other factors have added to the cause of the movement. Lack of funding of higher education from the government and the quality of education offered to minority students or those from poor backgrounds who are already struggling to attend university, has added to socio-economic and racial inequality issues.
In the beginning, I was very intrigued and very curious to see the protest for myself. Being that I was ignorant, it was more of an adrenaline rush of an experience that I was longing for, not knowing that it’s a serious issue that’s affecting people’s lives and their future. Growing up, my parents have instilled the importance of education and I’ve grown to believe that it’s a human right that should be accessible to everyone. Although, I never faced the struggle of not being able to go to school, this movement has absolutely been an eye opener of some of the privileges I already have.
In the words of William Faulkner, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”