Protests: where do the students stand?

By Palesa Mlambo

The youth around the country are demanding to be heard. Palesa Mlambo asked students at the University of Johannesburg about protests, the use of violence and possible solutions to meeting student demands.

Vandalism is not the solution – Zinhle Gquli

1-zinhle-gquliThey are fighting for what is right. However, vandalism is not the solution. When protesting for something, anything, we should consider the future, other learners are going to need the same facilities to further their own education. The state needs to figure out a solution as soon as they can. In order for us to have a better tomorrow.

Free education is not possible – Philisiwe Ncapai

2-philisiwe-ncapaiFree education is not possible, this is because university fees are very expensive and there is no way that the government can fund each and every student. As much as I am in favour of the protests, they are affecting me negatively because I am from a disadvantaged family. I use a bursary to fund my studies. If the students block us from attending classes and writing assessments I could fail and my sponsors will pull out their funding.

Students need more funding – Thando Khumalo

3-thando-khumalo
Students at Wits are fighting for a good cause and they are fighting for what has been promised to them by the state, although I don’t think free education is possible because South Africa is a developing country and funding all the students might further affect the economy negatively.

The strike is genuine – Magnificent Mndebele

4-magnificent-mndebeleThe Wits strike is a manifestation of students’ power. Black people have been neglected. This shows that the spirit of the 1976 youth is still alive. And will continue to be until the promises made to the young people are kept. The students are consolidating and forming a cohesive movement which aims to fight what our parents failed to do. Our brothers and sisters, especially those who have academic qualifications have failed to challenge the superpowers to confront the issue of free education. The strike is genuine, a few days ago I interviewed three cleaners from one of the institutions, and they said they earn R2 700 monthly. This is not enough to cover even a portion of the fees therefore these protests are well justified…there are two possible solutions to this dilemma, one being, the cabinet should stop increasing the fees because the students’ outcry is that the fee hikes pose an impediment to the middle class. Secondly, the government should introduce scholarships that will cover the fees and all other expenses in line with the learning process.

The protests give me a voice – Tshegofatso Seemela

5-tshegofatso-seemelaStudents are standing their ground on the no fees increment issue, even though there is division among student leadership, the bottom line is that students are saying ‘no’ to the increment regardless of what the government or anyone else says. The protests have had a positive impact on me because it prompted me to voice my opinions regarding the financial issues we face in varsities. This has gone on for too long.

Images courtesy of Xiletelo Mabasa and Magnificent Mndebele

More stories in Issue 76

Contributors

Palesa Mlambo

Palesa Mlambo is an aspiring journalist, news anchor and freelance writer at Auzweke magazine. She is a journalism student at the University of Johannesburg.

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