#FeesMustFall: A Week of Student-Led Protests

This was the week that students across South Africa rallied together to protest institutional elitism and accountability. The #FeesMustFall movement began at WITS in Joburg in response to the 12% fee increase and spread to campuses across the country. We’ve been keenly watching the movement gain momentum and put out a call to you to send us your #FeesMustFall stories and accounts from the streets, campuses and governmental buildings. Today the students took #FeesMustFall to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, demanding a response from our president. The response: 0%. #FeesHaveFallen, what’s next?

Niamh Walsh-Vorster: UCT, 20-22 October 2015

“These young adults represent a myriad of issues and conversations in South Africa. From the socio-political struggles of the black working class, to the economic divides in privilege and understanding of what it means to “work hard” for a living and the basic right to education that allows for freedom and opportunities.”

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Palesa Mapheelle: Excerpts from ‘Lessons from the youth of 2015’

“For those not familiar with the reality of the ‘average’ South African case, it simply does not allow for that. Only 5% of households in South Africa can afford to send two children to university, according to Frans Cronje, CEO of the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR). It is obvious therefore, that the system as it is not a true fit. It is not designed to encourage equality, let alone success. It is not in favour of a prosperous, independent and liberated individual. It does not support our efforts or academic abilities. It does not reflect democracy accurately and it certainly does not represent the black child – it is driven largely by economic privilege and that is problematic.”


“To the government, I’m afraid you might have met your match in us. We are not our parents and we are certainly not our grandparents. The majority of us are better educated than our parents in many capacities and are more open to a range of possibilities available to us. Our parents fought great and unimaginable struggles for us to be further than they were and while we have made some strides, today we are exactly where they were in their youth. We are disappointed and our spirit has been broken through everything that has been done to our fellow comrades but we are both of those things with our eyes wide open. We are not here to be loyal, we are not here to trust in processes that do not serve us and we are certainly not here to be led blindly. We have mentioned before, 2015 has been a year of accountability and a year of consequences, if you cannot see that change is in the air, it means you cannot see us.”

Kgomotso Neto Tleane: Wits and UJ, 22 October 2015

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Snalo Ngcaba:

feesmustfall - SnaloNgcaba

Charles Harry Mackenzie / #KnowTheProtest: Rhodes, 21-22 October 2015

“#Knowtheprotest is an open campaign that hopes to combat media bias and mis-information by focusing on HUMAN stories and characterizations. Send content to charlesharry@me.com or use the #Knowtheprotest hashtag.”

Charles Mackenzie #KnowTheProtest (1)

“I’ve been protesting from 12am on Monday. I am tired. I don’t have the time to ‘choose’ what to eat, there is no ‘eating time’. I just eat what I’m given, when I can. A lot of tobacco also helps with endurance. My motivation to continue protesting is because I literally feel the pain of my mother. It’s a heavy burden…my family is starving on that side just so that I can eat on this one. They are sacrificing everything so that I can afford all of these expenses. Maybe some will say, “Ok let me wait until I get back my degree, then I can make money and repay my family”, but that doesn’t happen because you still have to repay all of those loans or debts. On day 1 they threw teargas at me, at Eastern Cape Midlands College. My mother said, “Please don’t go back again. Sleep tomorrow,” but she got a text from me telling her that it wasn’t going to happen. So she said “Be safe, take care of yourself, we will pray for you”. That was it, they knew they couldn’t stop me.”

Charles Mackenzie #KnowTheProtest (2)

“Looking beyond yourself and seeing that it is something bigger than you, that’s what this is all about.”

Olivie Keck: ‘Sing The Chorus Again’

#FeesMustFall -- Olivie Keck

Fort Rixon:


Dambakuombera: Stellenbosch, 20-21 October 2015

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Dambakuombera #FeesMustFall (12)

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Eben Pretorius: Stellenbosch, 19 October 2015

Eben Pretorius #FeesMustFall

Nicci Martin:


Jabulile Newman: UCT, 20 October 2015

“All I want to say is that I’ve never been more proud of the youth, my colleagues and comrades. This is more than #FeesMustFall, it’s a national outcry from the youth that things need to change.”

Jabulile Newman (3)

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Loucas Polydorou: UCT, 21 October 2015



Rosa Elk: Wits, 19-20 October 2015

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David Tshabalala:

David Tshabalala #FeesMustFall

Russell Abrahams:

Russell Abrahams xx #FeesMustFall

Imraan Christian: UCT, 21 October 2015

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Tsatsi Rantsatsi: Wits, 22 October 2015

“The right to an education has become a privilege and even that privilege has been or is being taken away from us. With most of us forming part of the middle class higher education is becoming more and more far-fetched based on the high fees or the inability to get funding.”

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Megan Brits:


Catherine Holtzhausen: ‘We will not fall’ and ’21 October 2015′.

Catherine HOLTZHAUSEN #FeesMustFall (1)

Catherine HOLTZHAUSEN  #FeesMustFall (2)

Leslie Ramolai: NMMU, 23 October 2015

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Johnson Maela: UCT, 21 October

“The girl getting arrested was caught in the crossfire between the authorities and a small group of protestors that were throwing rocks at the police in retaliation to some unnecessary use of force on some students. She kept asking ‘What did I do?”

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Merwe Marchand Le Roux / Rodeo Productions:

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Sipho Biyam: ‘Woes’

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Nicola Kritzinger: London, 23 October 2015

“South African High Commissioner sitting on the floor with protestors listening to our terms and signing a petition to oppose police brutality and his support of the student protests. Took him ages to sit on the floor, they brought out a chair at first, but he finally conceded to sit on our level.”



#FeesHaveFallen – 23 October 2015. What’s next?

Between 10 and 5