Student activist Ntokozo Qwabe, who made headlines for allegedly reducing a waitress to tears in a Cape Town restaurant, has criticized the current ‘older’ ANC leadership amid the the higher education crisis.
Several universities around the country suspended activities after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Monday announced the universities could increase fees up to a maximum of 8%.
Students are demanding free education at tertiary level.
In a post on social media site Facebook, Rhodes Scholar Ntokozo Qwabe said:
Older black people who want to silence us on the basis that they fought against apartheid need to shut the fuck up!!!
We are here because you failed us!
His post comes after ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said that if he were the minister of higher education, he would shut universities down for six months to teach students a lesson.
Blade Nzimande then called on parents need to play a bigger role in debates over university fees.
“Where are the parents in all of this? They are leaving big decisions in the hands of 19 and 20-year-old students,” he said during an interview on Pretoria-based Impact Radio.
He said government had started talking to parents about their children. They were the ones helping their children get through university.
“Students just want to demand and some of them are not even willing to listen and engage,” Nzimande said.
In another post, Qwabe continued to be critical of the ANC:
You see, what the ANC government is discovering is that history always catches up with you, and exposes your sneaky methods!
This ANC government thought it had one up on us when it made it a point to capture student politics through the ANCYL, SASKO & the broader PYA in post 1994 South Afrika (along with capturing workers’ unions, and other mass based movements).
It thought it could remove our agency as black students by tieing us to student loan obligations & sucking us early into the capitalist system through impossible student debts with its National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
I mean, the word ‘scheme’ says it all! NSFAS is nothing but a debt chain for young black people masquerading as a liberatory framework designed to give the black child an education! NSFAS is designed to lock us within an unjust system – in the hope that it swallows us into eternal submission & passivity.
The students of South Afrika, however, no longer care! We are slowly rendering the ANC-captured student formations irrelevant and organising outside their ANC-sympathising logics! We are speaking not through our transient party political badges but through our material conditions as black people!
Nor are we concerned about our loan obligations anymore! If we are going to leave our universities with thousands of rands of debt against our names, then we might as well go down having secured a free decolonised education for black students that will come after us. We have absolutely nothing to lose anymore because our reality as black young people is that we are fucked either way!
The evolution of the student political landscape in our cowntry is beautiful to watch! It is liberating seeing what the ANC thought was a masterstroke in student capture crumble right before its eyes! It is beautiful seeing the ANC’s last meek attempts at holding onto this bygone capture fail dismally!
Students no longer need your petty PYA to organise themselves, and nor are they willing to delay the justice they deserve through its nonsensical ‘free education in our lifetime’. Students are klear that they want a free decolonised education NOW!
Qwabe also said that calls for zero percent increases were a ‘waste of tea’. He said that students must demand free education, or else they would need to come back and protest every year.
In all our campuses, we must ensure that ALL factions talking about fighting for a ‘0% fee increment’ are collapsed! If we have learnt anything from last year, it is that the discourse of ‘fee increments’ belongs not in our movement, but in the dustbins of history!
Protesting against ‘fee increments’ is not sustainable. If we protest merely for another ‘0% increment’ this year, we will have to do so again next year, and the year after. This doesn’t make sense. You see, contrary to popular belief, we are not protest cows who enjoy this thing of protesting.
The masses are klear that they are putting their bodies & futures on the line for a full revolution NOW (a free decolonised education!). Let’s not be distracted by toxic factions advocating for nonsensical half-a-loaf revolutions centred on ‘increments’ like last year!
Our energies should be directed towards a free, decolonised, black centred, Afrocentric education MANJE! That & nothing less!
Qwabe is the co-founder of Rhodes Must Fall In Oxford – “an organisation determined to decolonise the space, the curriculum, and the institutional memory at, and to fight inter-sectional oppression within, Oxford”.
He is a former law student at KwaZulu-Natal, and received the Rhodes Scholarship to further his studies at England’s Oxford University, in 2013.