It seems that spirit of defiance has returned, in this case it is in the “Born-Free Generation”, a term used for those born after the advent of democracy, referring to “Black South Africans” at the risk of sounding racist.
South Africa is heading towards a perfect storm of discontent, the discontent of the poor, the working class and the middle class. Thousands of innocent South Africans standby and watch their country bleed, as others protest against a hike in college tuition fees turned violent on Wednesday October 21.
Police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse hundreds of students who marched on the parliament precinct, protesting to stop the tuition hike. More than a dozen universities were affected by the unrest; this is the nation’s largest student demonstration since the end of apartheid. In Cape Town, white students were forming human shields between black students and the police.
The actions of the police led to many arrests, but they left no resolve for the destruction left behind. Universities were closed, disrupting classes and preventing other students from attending.
There are a large number of students “black and white” who attend with the genuine intention to learn and grow, who believe in one nation. However, it seems the “Born Free Generation” is more like a “Lost Generation.”
The wave of protests have been linked to the 1976 Soweto uprising, when hundreds of thousands of black high school students marched against the introduction of apartheid education laws.
The question begs, will South Africa ever overcome the shadow of apartheid years. The unrest has spread to Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria, or should I say, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and Pretoria, who knows these days?
It is unimaginable that an announcement on October 13 revealing universities’ intent to increase fees by as much as 11.5%, could lead to such destruction, putting South Africa further back in its progression and development into the future.
Students and professors alike argue that the price hikes are reminiscent of apartheid policies and amount to racial discrimination as they will deny poorer black students access to higher education. They choose to forget this also affects white students who cannot afford the fee hikes.
These days there are thousands of whites who cannot afford higher education as they are too, affected by poverty. They are calling for free education for the poor saying this was promised by the African National Congress government when it took power in 1994. But the government said they cannot afford to have free education.
It seems they choose to protest anything and everything. Ignoring the fact that their protests result in millions of Rand’s of damage. In September, students took to the streets to protest against being taught in Afrikaans, one of the main languages spoken by the white minority. It’s time to stop blaming “White South Africans”, for all the problems. I ask you how anyone can expect free tertiary education it comes as a cost to most everyone around the world. It’s a privilege and even I, a “White South African,” was never afforded the opportunity. I too was one of many white South Africans who did not come from affluent background.
I am a South African by blood and by heart and to see what is happening in our country is soul-destroying. To protest is one thing, but to burn down Universities Colleges and Schools is heart breaking, not to mention financially crippling for a suffering economy.
How will South Africa recover from this and who will fit the bill to rebuild and repair damage to property? Not to mention the further divide of a nation torn apart by violence.
The Government is to blame. The power of a white nation is long gone more than two decades have passed. The government squander tax payer’s money and leave a nation in despair. Poverty rife, violence is a way of life and our hopes in the youth to lead us into a better world is destroyed and has left only devastation and anger.
As we stand back and watch our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers to be the ones burning it to the ground. The rainbow nation is not so colourful and South Africa is falling to pieces.