By Sithembiso KaShandu
Now that the dust has settled, we need to ask ourselves if there will be any justice for Fees Must Fall activists who led a historic fight in south Africa for free education a couple of years ago. It is evident that the struggle of Fees Must Fall has not brought much but left many with mixed feelings and others paying the highest price till to date. The downplaying of the harsh realities of the aftermath that continues to face those who took part in this historic political event is very disturbing. There is a general feeling that those who became victims must just accept the consequences and move on.
It is very disturbing that till to date, we have hundreds of young men and women who are still persecuted for participating in the Fees Must Fall campaign; not to mention those who have been charged and thrown to jail. One wonders as to where those civil society groups who supported us when we were embarking on this are. Our leaders and youth wings of all political parties seem to have lost appetite in finding closure to this case.
The untold story is that many Fees Must Fall activists are left in the cold and fighting alone to clear their names and fighting against court cases. There is no one interested in them anymore, there are no religious groups interested anymore, there is no mainstream media reporting about their hardships anymore. While from time to time you will hear our leaders making reference to Fees Must Fall and commending the braveness of this generation, which is hypocrisy at its best, isn’t?
It took me two years fighting to clear my name and by luck, I ended up being cleared. But what about those who never had this luck? Have we ever wondered what are they going through? I was expelled by my university for five years and later my expulsion was overturned but what about those who were expelled at universities and were never brought back? Their dreams were shattered.
There is a cry that is going on and I think it’s high time and appropriate for Fees Must Fall victims to stand up, organise and fight for their justice. There is a need to intensify a call for dropping of all charges against FMF activists and a need for FMF activist to come out and shout loader about their struggles since the protests or else we will remain in shackles. No one cares about us anymore. It is only us who can fight for ourselves.
FMF activists stand up, organise and unite or be prepared to remain bitter in that corner for no one cares about you anymore.
Sithembiso KaShandu is a former SRC Vice President, Fees Must fall activist and is currently a Master’s Degree student at Tshwane University of Technology and serving as an Alumni Representative for Young African Leaders initiative.
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