Legacy of Apartheid still haunt black child: Fees Must Fall Activist


A student movement activist says 40 years after the Soweto Uprisings, the poorest of the poor in SA are still finding it hard to break the chains of poverty.

In 1976, thousands of Soweto school children took to the streets to protest against racism and inadequacy of Bantu education.

Mcebo Freedom Dlamini one of the #FeesMustFall movement leaders believes that as much as South Africa is a democratic country, black youth is still hindered by the legacy of Apartheid.

Dlamini who led tens and thousands of students across the country in October 2015 in protest against the increase of tuition fees, believes the same policies which led to the 76' protests are the same challenges that charged the #FeesMustFall movement.

"What triggered their protest in 76 was a lack of access to proper and quality education. So when it [Fees Must Fall] started in October everyone could relate, when Wits started it, everyone could relate and even Rhodes who was quiet at that time," says Dlamini.

He says even today students at universities like Stellenbosch and Pretoria are still “fighting the Apartheid as a language, as a policy, it is still there.”

Like June 16, #FeesMustFall was not an overnight movement, it emanated from a number of challenges black youth have faced in the country.

“You will remember that before the October protests there was the 1million 1month campaign at Wits University, which clearly indicated the challenges that are still faced by black students there in those universities.”

"A black man in this country is still not free; we are still very much oppressed."

He adds giving a black man education is very dangerous for the capitalist system he is adamant is controlling society.

"Now if you educate more blacks you are going to deprive the whiteness the opportunity to control us because we will be equal, they are using the education to continue to oppress us."

Dlamini says the policies used then to deprive young people access to education are still used today.

He believes the deprivation of education in the black society retains a 'certain status quo' for the capitalist system.

The #FeesMustFall leader states that between 1990 and 1994 little was done to address the lingering Apartheid Education Policies.

He adds “our parents failed to dismantle between 1990 and 1994.”

He adds that the key to education is still in the hands of those who benefited from the fruits of Apartheid.

"We were told that education is a key to success, yes indeed it might be but we are deprived of that key."

Dlamini says the revolution to decolonize the curriculum was called off before it was completed. He doubt's education in the country is designed with a black child in mind.

"When doors of higher education opened little was done to rectify the problem from the grassroots. Because remember, when you come from the township like some of us raised by grandparents, the people who raised you when you get to grade one they stop, they are no longer able to assist you with school work because they never went that far themselves."

He decries that the legacy of Bantu Education has left the majority of the black youth disadvantaged while white parents can hire tutors to help their children.

“We still live in a divided state, we live in two states. One state which is very rich, which is fenced for the white people and the other which very poor, which is meant for the mass of our people which is the black majority.”

He believes the way forward for the country is invest in education to rectify the lingering Apartheid legacy, he is afraid those in power do not know how to deal with challenges facing young black people in the country.

“For me I feel there is a lack of will, those who are in power do not have the will to deal with these things.”