Africa's Education News Source

#FeesMustFall: University students in South Africa are still protesting

The protest served as a powerful reminder of the importance of education as a fundamental human right, and of the need for greater social justice and equality in society.
Source: BBC
Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.

In October 2015, a pivotal movement in South Africa’s history arose. It was sparked by the announcement of proposed fee hikes by the country’s federal government which many students saw as a threat to their right to education. 

As a result, university students turned to protests to demonstrate their grievances and highlight the deep-seated inequality and injustice within the higher education system. 

What started as a peaceful protest soon turned into a nationwide movement, with students from universities across South Africa joining forces to demand affordable and accessible higher education for all. The protest quickly gained momentum and captured the attention of the world, with the hashtag #FeesMustFall trending on social media and major international news outlets covering the story extensively.

The protest was driven by a sense of frustration and anger at the high cost of education in South Africa, which was seen as a barrier to social mobility and a perpetuation of existing inequalities. 

Many students felt that they were being excluded from higher education due to their socio-economic background, and that the government was failing to prioritise education as a fundamental human right. The protest was not without its challenges, as police brutality and violence from both sides marred what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration. 

images 17
Source: eNCA

The South African government eventually responded to the protest by freezing university fees for the following year, and by increasing funding for higher education. This was seen as a major achievement for the #FeesMustFall movement, and a victory for social justice in South Africa. The protest also highlighted the ongoing challenges facing South Africa’s higher education system, including chronic underfunding and a lack of access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. While the government’s response was a step in the right direction, many students argue that more needs to be done to ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible to all South Africans.

The resilience and determination of the students ensured that their voices were heard, and the protest eventually resulted in a significant victory for the movement, or so they thought [pdf].

A luta continua

Earlier in March 2023, university students in South Africa were protesting the continuously rising cost of higher education. A report confirmed that students from the University of Witwatersrand took to the streets in protest against the exclusion of students who cannot afford to register for the new academic year and pay off their debts. One student leader, Lungile Magagula, said that financial exclusion is not a valid reason to bar academically deserving students from starting the new academic year.

Onkokame Seepamore, a final year law student, expressed to Africanews, concerns about how financial aid for accommodation continues to be a struggle every year. He said that he is currently appealing for financial aid because he didn’t have funding at all. He noted that some students were sleeping in public places due to delays in securing financial aid for accommodation. Jabulile Mbanjwa, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) student, recalled repeatedly applying for bursaries but with no luck.

images 18
Source: Mail & Guardian

A 2018 report by Mail & Guardian posited the government’s plan for free education. However, latest developments suggest otherwise. The legacy of the #FeesMustFall protest continues to be felt in South Africa today, with the movement inspiring similar protests and demonstrations around the world. 

The protest served as a powerful reminder of the importance of education as a fundamental human right, and of the need for greater social justice and equality in society. While the protest was not without its challenges, it was a step towards greater social justice and equality in South Africa.

The rising cost of higher education in South Africa is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted solution. While efforts have been made to address the issue, more needs to be done to ensure that all students have access to affordable higher education. Failure to do so risks perpetuating existing inequalities and hindering the country’s economic growth and development.

Share this article

All right reserved. You may not reproduce or republish Edugist content in whole or part without express written permission. Only use the share buttons.

Support Edugist’s goal of giving education a voice

Even a small donation will make a difference.

Related Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
???? Hi, how can I help?
Scroll to Top

Fill the form below to download the WASSCE 2024 Timetable

Be the First to Know When we Publish new Contents

“Stay ahead of the educational curve! Subscribe to Edugist’s newsletter for the latest insights, trends, and updates in the world of education. Join our community today and never miss out on valuable content. Sign up now!”