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2015: Koketso Sachane discusses #FeesMustFall

This October, CapeTalk is celebrating its 20th birthday by reliving some of the most impactful stories of the past twenty years, as told by some of our favourite personalities. Click here to view the rest of the stories.

As a fresh spate of student fees protests begin flaring up around the country, CapeTalk presenter Koketso Sachane joined Breakfast Show host Kieno Kammies to reflect on the start of the #FeesMustFall movement in 2015.

But, Sachane said, the core of the #FeesMustFall message was not a new one, and that protests around registration fees and tuition fees were held consistently every year at "traditionally black universities".

The call for free education had been made for many years before.

Koketso Sachane, CapeTalk presenter

The #FeesMustFall protests followed the #RhodesMustFall movement in early 2015, which started at the University of Cape Town and called for the decolonisation of higher education in South Africa.

What we saw in 2015 following #RhodesMustFall was the start of protests at traditionally white universities.

Koketso Sachane, CapeTalk presenter

What I saw in the start of those protests was actually something that reminded me of how young people would take a position, take a stand and speak to authorities in the same way that they did in the 1980s when I was growing up in Pretoria.

Koketso Sachane, CapeTalk presenter

Both Sachane and Kammies condemned the violence that has marred the protests since 2015.

Throughout the protests, Sachane has been engaging with different student leaders from across universities in different parts of the country on the cause, and while the struggle for affordable education is something he can relate to, he does not agree with the violence that "takes away from the deeper question".

As a black child, I understand. As a child who comes from parents who couldn't have afforded to take me and my siblings to universities on their own, I understand.

Koketso Sachane, CapeTalk presenter

The violent nature of some of the protests is "certainly taking away from the core discourse", Kammies pointed out.

I might not be happy with a certain tactic or a certain action by a student, but I never lose sight of the core issue, and I think that this is what we need to do.

Koketso Sachane, CapeTalk presenter

Outside of protesting for equitable access to education, Kammies said, students have another responsibility.

You must also be seen to be standing up against those who distract from your cause through violence and other means, for other reasons.

Kieno Kammies, Breakfast Show host

Ultimately, Sachane said, the #FeesMustFall movement is not solely to the benefit of black children. He recalls a quote from a student leader, who told a CapeTalk listener that "We are not fighting for black kids, we are fighting for all kids."

Watch Koketso Sachane reflect on the #FeesMustFall protests of 2015 below.


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