#FeesMustFall Protests gone violent

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students being evacuated from class at wits a few weeks back

Recently there have been clashes between students and police across the country at several universities. The #FeesMustFall protests have lasted for over a month and at the University of Cape Town they are still going on, but to be honest the protests at UCT are a bit confusing on the one part they are about fees and on the other hand they are about releasing the students who were arrested for alleged damage to university property (who have now been granted R500 bail). These protests have led to ugly confrontations with Max Price the vice chancellor of UCT. Students have gone so far as to beat up private security guards.

My question is, is this all necessary? This is not 1976 and we should not be using violence and destruction to be heard. This presents a bad image of “us” black people as we are the majority that is protesting using these tactics but the protesters are not a full representative of students and they are not a representative of black people, for example the protesters are a few hundred individuals including older people who are not students (supporting them), so in the case of UCT with over 26000 students the protesters are not a true representative of the UCT community. I am also not a representative of all black people or UCT in general but most of the people that I know and are students are not striking even though they are supportive of a free education if it’s possible and would be thankful if it happened, which means we would benefit from the protest but at the same time disrupting the whole semester hurts the students in the long run especially undergraduate students.

Uct in certain faculties is having to cancel all academic activity until next year January where they plan to have a mini semester with possible exams in Feb. My question is this, if the university does not meet the protesters demands and if they don’t reach an agreement what will stop the protesters from interrupting the mini semester? As for the protesters for how long will they continue to interrupt the university? In any negotiation there should be compromise and one cannot expect to be rewarded and walk away freely if you damage expensive university property which increases university insurance which in turn will increase fees and yet we want a free education.

new bakkie burnt during fees must fall protests

We are reaching a point of no return, the protests cause racial tension. Even though fees must fall is not a racial thing and would benefit everyone it’s the black students who protest with violence and chase everyone out of classes, libraries and computer labs whereas a few weeks back it was a majority white crowd having a silent protest begging for academic activity to continue saying “Keep the doors to learning open”. You can see the racial tension when you and your group of black friends/classmates are walking down the stairs into a computer lab that there is a tension and everyone that is not black thinks you are protesters and you see the sigh of relief when you are just sitting down to work on a pc instead of kicking them out and setting of alarms.

source: https://www.uct.ac.za/dailynews/?id=9978

On another note when a protest goes on for too long and you are not sure when it’s going to end its not conducive to studying, you don’t know what to do with yourself. At first everyone was happy they got a little break and spent all their money partying but soon the money runs out and you get tired of watching series. Others wanted to take the opportunity to get back into shape because university restricted their gym time, but guess what? The gym was closed for a month and one would have to call to ask if they were open on certain days. Those who could afford to go home went home, some came back some are still at home and the rest of us who didn’t go home feel like we missed a long vacation which we could have enjoyed with family if we knew this thing would go on for this long. The guys and I joke around and say there will be a baby/abortion boom because of this prolonged strike but jokes aside I hope this thing is resolved soon before next year.

I hope that students realize that our universities are/were the best on the continent not because they were completely free (which they are not they are quite expensive) but because they provided a quality world class education. They achieved this by receiving funding from the government, private donors and from our fees, we cannot just expect them to give us free education overnight and expect them to still be ranked as the best and attract the best minds in Africa if they don’t have enough funding. This is a long term process which cannot be rushed nor ignored. You must remember the reason why you applied to your university in the first place. We must make our institutions better not destroy them.

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