On Wednesday, October 21st, 2015, The University of Witwatersrand was on lockdown and barricaded by 2,000 students. The university expected the protest to last 2 hours, but it occurred a week before exams and has been closed ever since.
The students were protesting because the university was charging a high price for the poor to get an education. Most of them struggled to get accepted, but staying there was the hard part.
The government did nothing to support the poor in getting an education. The university set up a 10.5% increase to the fee, which would have left students with no way to get into the university. The fee was 10,000 rand ($750) which also would have caused many students to lose their scholarships and aids. In the past week, student’s demands went from cancelling fees to having the government set up a fund for higher education.
On Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced that the increased fees would be cancelled for 2016. This was a huge accomplishment, but there were more things that needed to be dealt with. The Wits students decided to continue their protest for free education on Saturday.
Over 500,000 students nationally, half of which were enrolled, receive state loans which leaves many students with little living expenses.
This revolt was the result of students fighting for their rights and not wanting to have to struggle for education anymore. People should have a right to free education, and no government or country should say otherwise.
Journalist: Sarah Yassin