In light of all of the recent protesting and rioting occurring at universities around the country it seems that it would be callous and small minded of me to simply say nothing, while afforded with such a great platform as this.
As an alumni of Stellenbosch University and a current student of the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town I feel caught between both extremes of the same argument. On the one hand I can say that I completely understand the struggles and needs of the many students who simply cannot afford the fees of tertiary institutions. On the other hand I (as previously mentioned, a student myself) am aggrieved by the lack of respect and sensitivity of a handful of students who care more for their own agendas than the need to protect the very thing my parents and theirs fought to have.
In the beginning of this entire situation I felt that it was endearing and powerful to see students joining hand in hand with each other to fight what was an unfair and bias raise in fees. Then (when my academic and sober brain calmed) I realised that universities cannot and should not be held ransom for the actions of our government who spend money on things that, as a country, will not benefit the larger populas. Now, while the final exams are being written a group of rioters has decided that they want more (more what!) and has caused such chaos and destruction in what could have been a peaceful and fruitful exam period. In short… Now I’m pissed.
I don’t claim to have the answer to any of the problems leading to this situation but I do feel that unless respect is shown for one another it cannot be expected that anyone else will have it for us…
Jody V Ford