Kanya Cekeshe: I was used as an example to silence voices within Fees Must Fall
I do believe I was used as an example, and I'm not the only one who was used as an example or 'deterrent', so to speak.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
The aim was to silence the voices within the movement. The aim was to kill the movement of Fees Must Fall.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
It's been over two months since his release on parole and Cekeshe says he is still recovering from the trauma of his experience behind bars.
He was jailed back in December 2017, serving an eight-year sentence for damage to property and public violence during the Fees Must Fall protests in 2016.
In December 2019, Cekeshe was released from Leeuwkop Correctional Services when his sentence was reduced by 12 months after President Cyril Ramaphosa granted remissions to thousands of prisoners.
Cekeshe says he had no idea that he would end up in prison after he was advised to plead guilty to the charges.
My lawyer at the time said, should I plead guilty, I will receive a lenient sentence... Prison was not a consideration. It was house arrest or community service... before I knew it I was sentenced to prison.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
It was difficult and unexpected.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
The prison experience was difficult on me and my family... It's been quite an adjustment, but I'm glad to be out.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
I was advised to plead guilty, and so I did.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
He says he does not regard himself as a hero of the movement, but rather as someone who was willing to stand up for what he believed.
Cekeshe says student protests are a symptom of South Africa's unresolved history of injustice.
Student protests are not new. They're an extension of the unresolved past that we carry in our country.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
No one should be excluded from an institution because they could not afford the fees.Kanya Cekeshe, freed student activist
The student activist reflects on the movement and the time he spent behind bars.
Listen to Kanya Cekeshe in conversation with Clement Manyathela:
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