I am writing this because the world needs to know. They need to know that South African Students are being robbed of their rights to an education. They are being affected emotionally, physically, mentally and as per the topic, financially. For many of you who don’t know, South Africa is in the middle of a revolution, we’ll be going in the history books once again. This time, I am old enough to help make a difference and to help be a part of the Fees Must Fall movement.
There are things you need to know about me before we go any further. First, I am a proud South African. Second, I am in my first year of university. And, third, I wholeheartedly stand with the Fees Must Fall movement. A question that has been a recurring one in my mind is; why, as students, do we have to worry about our studies and still worry about whether we will have enough money to further our education?
Classes cancelled. Exams postponed. Disgruntled students. Education is not a privilege. Education is a right. In South Africa we have a right to education and our right to education needs to be exercised. But, how do we exercise our right if we can barely afford it?
Many South African’s are still heavily impacted by Apartheid. We strive and we would like not to let our past impact us in a negative way, that is the goal. But, the reality is that we still feel the negative impact Apartheid has left. However, what I have witnessed while joining the nationwide movement of Fees Must Fall is unity. Whether you’re Black, White, Coloured, Indian, Muslim or Christian; we all stood in solidarity. We marched hand in hand, peacefully. So, then why do the police want to arrest us? Why did they arrest us? Is it because we retaliated on them using brutal force on a mass of unarmed students who just want their voices to be heard? Why do they insist on using tear-gas on us? Why do police need to be fully armed, when we are just merely students with a voice that needed to be heard?
I find it mind boggling that people in 2015 are still fighting for the right to education. In the face of poverty we are still required to scrape up money we don’t have in order to pay for something that should be ours no questions asked.
I am a 18 year old South African girl. I am in my first year of university. I already have debt to my name even though I haven’t even had a solid job yet. My father and sister are the only breadwinners in my family. My father is a self-employed auto electrician, my sister is a preschool teacher. We live decently, some days there is work, other days there isn’t but my father always manages to have food on the table for us every night, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. I know that my father works extremely hard for us, he never complains and he never lets us worry about our finances. My parents always told me to go for my dreams not matter what obstacles lie ahead, you deal with them as they come along and they have always encouraged education no matter the financial burden on their pocket. However, sometimes the price of education can be ridiculous. Which is ironic because there isn’t supposed to be a price on education.
Now, I am not telling you this to get any kind of sympathy from you or for you to pity me, that is not the aim. I am telling you this because in my country I am considered privileged. I am too rich to reach bursary qualifications, too poor to take out a loan, so what am I expected to do to further my education with a ridiculous increase as well?
If I am considered privileged in South Africa then what about those who are under-privileged? How do they exercise their right? Surely, not all of them can get bursaries and student loans, so how do they pay for their education?
I am an 18 year old South African girl and I stand firm with the Fees Must Fall Movement. I stand in solidarity with my South African brothers and sisters who are being being robbed of their education because of their inability to pay. I stand with my South African brothers and Sisters who cannot exercise their rights because they are not by the financial means. I stand because you are affected. I stand because I am affected. I stand because we are affected and something needs to be done. Amandla! Awethu.
***Please help and stand in solidarity with us, you can use the hashtag #FeesMustFall, there are a lot of live media coverage that happened throughout this week and is currently still happening. Feel free to Google it and express your opinion. Also, I would like to hear your take on this, so drop a comment in the comment section below.