Why #FeesMustFall hit home for me: An expat’s view

Activism. I’ve never been involved in it. It’s not that I don’t care. That I’m unconscious. In my bubble. Unaware of what’s really happening in the world. I am well aware.

As an expat, it is very hard for me to voice my opinion on what’s happened in South Africa with the students. If the 16% fee increase would’ve been passed, it would’ve made it impossible for regular kids to afford University. And that’s not right. That struck something deep within my soul because education is not reserved for the elitest. Education is not a privilege. Education should be accessible to everyone who wants it. And in many countries, education is free. I’ll let you take a moment to digest that, as you realise that what these students were asking for, fighting for (a 0% increase on the already expensive Uni fees), was not unreasonable, was not stupid, was not not worth fighting for. And at the start of this, I’ve been guilty of liking posts by people who’s mocked the movement by creating ridiculous hashtags like #AirconMustFall #PantiesMustFall and whatever else. But the more I read about it, the more it grabbed me. You people sit there untouched, hiding behind your screens, complaining about things you only ever see or read about on your screens. You never do anything to change it. But you keep complaining. Don’t you see it? In an era where the world is stuck in the biggest slumber mankind has ever known, it is refreshing to see a generation get up from behind their screens and fight for something meaningful. FOR EDUCATION!

And how can this not break your heart? They’re not fighting to be able to afford designer clothes, or to drive a BMW, as some people stupidly compared this to. They were fighting for their future. And who are you to deny that to them? Education is what humbles us, it is what makes us human. Without it we are just animals. And if you believe in making South Africa a better place for your children, for the next generation, then why would you sit complacent and do nothing? Or worse, mock the movement and label them all hooligans because of the minority who got a little out of hand? I just don’t get. No matter from which angle I was looking at this, I still think that this was the right thing to do. Even religiously, and I hate to bring up religion in my blog, but our faith teaches us to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. 

I have no personal agenda. I do not have children that will attend a South African university, and I am no longer living in South Africa. But this protest was one that was very personal to me. To the class of 2016 and beyond, well done on taking the first step towards fighting for your dreams. Because in this world, nothing comes easy and you know this first hand. Everything worthwhile is worth fighting for. What a great lesson you’ve taught me. I salute you.


Image Credit: Unknown