Protest has engulfed South Africa as student activists storm government buildings in a bid to stop the president Jacob Zuma increasing tuition fees. Many opponents of the increase argue that the rise will alienate and exclude black students, who are already under-represented in educational institutions post-apartheid. The #FeesMustFall protests started this week and continued into today, even spreading to London.
President Zuma has even admitted that a rise in cost of 11.5 per cent is alienating to a large portion of the population’s youth. "Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion," he said. Students are campaigning for no increase in tuition fees whatsoever.
Today, protesters have marched towards official buildings, attempting to enter a police station in Johannesburg, as shown in the video below. Protesters have reportedly clashed with police in the capital, as well as Cape Town.
The fear for protesters is that a sharp increase in fees will continue to alienate the poorer black youth of South Africa, still fighting to find their feet in the aftermath of an apartheid that’s still raw. As columnist Khaya Dlanga wrote: "We have people out here asking why students aren’t applying for loans. What they don’t think about is the fact that some of the parents don’t have well paying jobs that will allow banks to provide those loans. And still others have parents who do not work. So tell me, how a bank will take surety from a person who does not work? And all of this is a legacy of our history which still stalks the present. Apartheid was designed to trap the black person in a cycle of poverty and white people would be propelled into a perpetual gift of prosperity."
Today, hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the South African embassy in London to show solidarity and have marched through the middle of the city calling for change and singing protest songs.
UPDATE: It’s worked! Jacob Zuma announces 0 per cent increase in fees for 2016!