Victory For South African Students

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On Friday more than 10,000 South African students protested outside of South Africa’s government building against a proposed rise in tuition fees, forcing President Jacob Zuma to scrap the rise.

The victory comes at the end of week long, nationwide student protests. It was also the largest student gathering in South Africa since the apartheid protests of 1976.

The protest began peacefully, with calls of ‘non-violence! Non-violence!’ when some protesters began to throw rocks. There were also calls for president Zuma to make a personal appearance before the students and, although his podium was erected twice, he never appeared, choosing instead to deliver his statement from a press room.

This non-appearance infuriated some protesters, and clashes with the police ensued, who responded with teargas, stun guns and rubber bullets. However, many protesters saw the violence as a necessary evil, to prove to the government that they were serious in their demands.

So does this victory mean that these student protests have come to an end? Unfortunately, there still seems to be some anger among the student body, not least due to the brutality of the police response. There is also some to use the momentum gained by the protests to scrap tuition fees altogether.

It seems that in the minds of many South African students the battle has been won but not yet the war.

Update: As of 28/10/2015 student protests in South Africa continue. Three of the countries biggest universities have remained closed and many students are calling for their exams next week to be cancelled.

It seems as though these students want all or nothing, free education for all and nothing less. However, the movement does seem to be reaching beyond its #FeesMustFall hashtag with many believing that education is still an area where there is not an equal playing field among blacks and whites in the country.

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