Dear Vanguard family,
As a student at Wits University, my voice went hoarse and went lost many times in the last three weeks joining in the #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing calls. Many of us in academia and media theorise about revolution, and here it is unfolding before our eyes as we witness one of the most important uprisings in “post-apartheid” South Africa.
As a publication that has written extensively on the subject of decolonisation and issues affecting young black South Africans, we deemed it only ethical that we down our tools and join our fellow students in the protest action right up until the Fees Must Fall movement had secured the end of outsourcing for workers on our campuses.
During that period we made efforts to try and work on articles, but found this to be highly unproductive. Even on the few days set aside from protest to work we found ourselves stressed and distracted by the very real threats of private security and police action that many of our colleagues faced as we continued the protest. We decided to put the brakes on publishing any content and resume once we had been able to put the events unfolding into perspective.
Important gains for worker conditions and student access have been made over the past three weeks. More still needs to be done whilst students and workers continue to be met with unprecedented police brutality; many protesters have been arrested for unthinkable by demanding to end this post-apartheid apartheid society.
We have compiled a special edition on the Wits Fees Must Fall protests and will be aiming to publish a larger retrospective that reflects protest action not only on the campuses of historically white institutions but very importantly on the campuses of historically black institutions.
This first issues aims to provide important perspectives on the protest action. Amongst others, Ayabonga Cawe draws the link between #RhodesMustFall protests and ‘bread and butter’ politics of #FeesMustFall, Pakama Ngceni outlines what the protests teach us about racism as a system, Thato Magano shows how the use of interdicts against black student bodies demonstrate that our law is anti-black and Lerato Mlambo writes of her fears of a revolution that only recognises the body of a heterosexual black man as legitimate. We also have a literary perspective on student politics in the form of an excerpt from Thando Mgqolozana’s Unimportance and workers, Sis’ Deliwe and Mashudu share with us the challenges they have encountered as outsourced workers on the Wits campus.
These are uncertain, dangerous yet exciting and important times we are living in and we hope to provide a window into it.
We are surely the ones we have been waiting for.
Pamberi ne ruzhinji!
Pamberi ne kubatana!
Pamberi ne Chimurenga!