Tell us, are South Africa’s students rising?

Cape Town, 09 April 2015 - During apartheid South African university students were ardent activists. But student activism saw a lull post-democracy. As the Rhodes statue falls eNCA asks former student activists what they think of the today’s movements. Video: eNCA
Students protest near the statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes at University of Cape Town on March 18, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images / Times Media / Ella Alexander
Students Rise - the return of student activism
Students rejoice as the Cecil John Rhodes statue is take down at the University of Cape Town Photo: eNCA / Justin Sullivan

JOHANNESBURG – This week on #eNCAlive, host Trudi Makhaya leads a conversation about student activism in South Africa. The weekly debate will stream live online from 13:30 on Tuesday, April 21.

Makhaya asserts students are rising up against academic institutions that do not reflect their values, heritage and aspirations.

They are calling for transformation of curricula to reflect African and other marginalised scholarship, a more diverse teaching staff and an inclusive institutional culture.

We want your take on student politics, past and present, and its place in broader discussions on transformation and learning. For example:

  • Are South African campuses too political, or not political enough?
  • What’s your view on the Rhodes Must Fall campaign? Does it signal a rise in student activism?

To participate, tweet your comments using the #eNCAlive tag, comment on this page in the comments section, or offer feedback via Facebook.

The #eNCAlive debate will include comment from Thabi Leoka, an economist, social activist, humanist and feminist and Mcebi Dlamini, Student Representative Council President at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

“We also ask if this spate of consciousness is new in post-apartheid South Africa, or if other post-1994 generations of students have tried to raise similar issues in their own way,” says Makhaya.

Some context

Recently, a campaign run by students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) resulted in the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes.

It began with a small group of students, including Chumani Maxwele, who threw excrement on the statue. Weeks of campus debates, sit-ins and heated argument followed.

After a university council vote on the matter, a crowd including many students gathered and cheered as workers remove the statue from its plinth on April 9, 2015.

UCT’s SRC President Rambabina Mahapa told eNCA’s Lester Kiewit the statue's removal was part of a broader transformation campaign at the university.

Tune in to the debate live and share your thoughts on this weekly #eNCAlive debate via the comments section, Facebook and Twitter.



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