who stole the thunder and the fire of the Fees Must Fall and the whole decolonization movement? Fees have not fallen,and a quality education is still not accessible to many people who happen to be Black. Surely all the noise has yielded something fruitful, or has it?
I see many politicians are now speaking a revolutionary language of radical economic transformation, land restoration and Fanon, Sobukwe and Biko are even quoted at rallies by parties who proudly espouse the Freedom Charter. Neo-liberals as well as racist demagogues are suggesting ways towards the freeing of education in the non-transformed RSA.
It has been two or more years since the Youth of South Africa took to the streets to demand a Free, Decolonized and Afrocentric education. Although the massive protests initiated by students mostly from tertiary institutions country-wide sparked ongoing debates into what really is a structural problem facing all of Africa, there appears to be no significant progress made.
One of the best spin-offs from the decolonization movement is that almost everyone can now recognize that we are all interlinked, we are all agents of either oppression or liberation. The light of Truth is revealing to all that we cannot afford to be complacent and fold our arms while the world we live in remains unjust. Another advantage is that the words and works of activist-thinkers such as Stephen Bantu Biko have been revived and Anti-Black racism is being turned on its head. It also highlights the more complex matter of Black comprador or elitist culpability in the ongoing repression of change. The revolts have not just stopped at the educational spaces, but institutions such as Banks, State Owned Enterprises and even audit companies and the whole Capitalist hegemony is being thoroughly shaken and tested to find whether they are still efficient or relevant to the needs of the new generation.
In the prescient words of Biko: “The students realize that the isolation of the black intelligentsia from the rest of the black society is a disadvantage to black people as a whole.” – ( Black Campuses and Current Feelings, made during a tour of black campuses, 1970)
Many have made the obvious connection between the 2015/16 revolutionary actions by students and the 1976 students revolts. While there are similarities, the context is quite a different one. To think that Biko and his comrades already anticipated that it would be the Youth who would call out all sectors of the Black community to the coalface of the decolonial struggle. It is clearly not enough to write a stunning and critical academic paper or to make a rousing speech at City Hall. Our daily lives are affected by neo-colonialism. Even the language we write in is an example of our state of psychological capture.
What are we willing to do to free ourselves from the shackles we have so eloquently identified as systemic. Sizozikhulula nini?