05 October 2016
Naeemah Dudan is a 2nd year Bachelor of Arts student at Wits University. She writes for Salaamedia. This is what she experienced today.
Let’s break away from the fees must fall movement for a bit. Let’s talk about “the silent majority”. According to Wits management, this is the 77% of students who voted in favour of the university reopening this week. Today they gathered on the lawns of the science stadium, around 50 or less. They approached their topic of not being heard and yet they have never once attempted to attend a mass meeting by the SRC.
The SRC receives their mandate from the students. At every mass meeting they open the floor to the students who are allowed to give their opinions, their views on moving forward. When I questioned the #TakeWitsBack leader, Stuart Young, today about why they hadn’t attended mass meetings before, he said that they had not felt welcomed there, that they were scared and that the movement happened overnight.
While the silent protesters were mainly white people there were a few Indians and blacks among them. They said that they support the fees must fall movement but that they want to return to campus to continue the academic programme. Many fees must fall protestors questioned where the police were while these students gathered. Why weren’t they being forcefully broken up as groups?
An emotional #FeesMustFall student sat in front of the silent majority today and lamented: “They said they are not going to get shot, because they are white, and they are right.”
It seems that often in the last 3 weeks many of those against the movement have said that education is not a right but a privilege. At the same time, they cry out that the protests are violating their right to an education. We as the fees must fall movement are asking you to join us, we are asking you to fight for your black brothers and sisters, we are asking you to come forward and help us achieve free education.
While Wits is said to resume on Monday, Shaeera Kalla, a former Wits SRC leader, says, “this is all dependent on how the university assembly goes on Friday.