The student protests against a proposed increase in tuition fees which started at University of the Witwatersrand and subsequently spread all over the country, has a far-reaching implication. For one thing, it has proven that there is still hope for the country. Unity is the key strength of voices that sought-after being heard, and as hardly seen, the vast and diverse citizens of the country was able to disregard their differences, find a common ground and confront the common enemy.
With the peculiar history of the country, in terms of racial segregation, it is usually difficult for South Africans (the governed) to work together for their own good. Amidst other things, the skin color is usually a big deal. Thus protests like the ongoing #FeeMustFall, are simply unattainable. A group is usually uninterested, or targeted as contributors to the woes of the other group. As such, what usually start as a collective gesture of disapproval and objection will subsequently, be labeled a race-conflict and the problem that stirred the mass-outcry will ultimately be relegated to Lalaland and forgotten while the sufferings lingers.
The plot of the story this time is however different. For irrespective of some miscreant coming up with untrue and negative stories to tarnish the essence of the protest, South Africans remained focused and resisted every attempt to turn the whole issue into a race-strife. And it pays in the end as president Zuma has assured the Students that the proposed increase is scraped. Below are some of the attempt to turn the protest into a race-strife that failed.
1. The False Information About Savages Attacking A Young White Guy At Wits
The report that circulated about a white guy who was attacked and lynched by black protesting students, I beg your pardon, I meant savages or rather black protesting students who are savagely inclined is a complete hoax with no other intent but to disrupt the unity of purpose the #FeeMustFall protest was gaining, and to essentially turn South Africans against each other.
Anyway, the negativity of this report didn’t achieve its aim. But here’s what really happened as revealed by lecturers at Wits and reported by eNCA.
“At around 4pm the driver of a white bakkie drove at speed through the police cordons and directly towards the crowd of seated students. In response to this incident a small breakaway group chased the car, which had pulled into the Engen garage about 100 meters away. The car was damaged and the driver injured. Student leaders were present almost immediately and worked to calm the situation down. A group of students formed a ring to protect the driver of the car. JMPD took the driver to safety, after which a small group of around 20-30 students overturned the car.”
2. The Video About Terrified White Students Hiding From Violent Black Mob
The video shows White Students at Cape Town University who were allegedly forced to barricade themselves in a classroom from an angry black mob protesting the hike of university tuition fees. One of the student who filmed the video related that the “hundreds of rioters” beat up some students, “shouting horrible things” like “all white people get out or else we will kill you”. Meanwhile the video footage didn’t show any scene of such shouts and beat-ups for according to the filmer, he “stopped filming before things got out of hand”.
It is needless to question the authenticity of the whole story related to this video as it can be entirely fabricated and as well wholly truthful. The good news, irrespective of whatever the case is, is embedded in the fact that South Africans didn’t let yet again the negativity of some South Africans get in the way of doing what’s right. It was amazing to read a particular report about White students from Rhodes University forming a shield around black protesters to protect them from the police.
3. The ‘Don’t Tell Whites’ Rhodes Voice Note
At the onset of Rhode’s protest, a voice note that related the schedule of activities the student were to engage on in their protest until there is a resolution on the increase in fees, out-rightly instilled segregation when it aired that Whites should be excluded. The voice note, referring to the White students stated; we “don’t want any Whites knowing because we cannot trust them. So just Blacks and non-White Students…”
They voice note however didn’t deter White Students from rallying behind their fellow “Blacks and non-White Students” in protest against their common problem. As stated earlier, this particular protest is an eye-opener, and has shown that as a country, South Africa will be better-off if the majority of the people are ready to think right, act right, and forsake every notion of race. Just as the student triumphed, the nation will triumph over bad governance, corruption, and crimes if the people can see themselves as a people with common sufferings.