11 October 2016 | Naeemah Dudan | Image: Ed Mothopi
Naeemah Dudan is a 2nd year Bachelor of Arts student at Wits University. She writes for Salaamedia. This is what she experienced on Monday, 10 October 2016.
Yesterday began the fourth week of an even longer struggle. The beginning of even more resistance against police brutality, against private security, against malicious media giants who constantly spew lies.
We are fighting for the silent majority; the domestic workers, the miners, andthe minimum wagers. We have created a revolution and we will not step down until we have achieved our goals.
The fire turned into a blaze in the early hours of Saturday night when Wits University issued a statement saying that the academic programme would continue on Monday. Student protestors were limited to where they could protest and in what numbers they could gather.
The Student Representative Council yesterday called a meeting and asserted that the fight for free, decolonised, quality education would continue. The fire burned brighter in the early hours of yesterday morning when a small group of protestors gathered on the Great Hall Piazza singing struggle songs.
The crowd grew to almost 1000 students who challenged the university by disrupting lectures that were taking place. 11 students in total were arrested for this. We gathered in front of the entrance to the Great Hall and begged security to let us into Solomon House in order for us to congregate, they refused.
Protestors thereafter threw rocks at the private security who threw them back. It’s still unconfirmed if the people who threw rocks were students at the university. Protest leaders such as Vuyani Pambo, maintained that we were to keep our high morale and high discipline but violence erupted.
The police cars were blocked by a human chain of white students who sat in protests against police brutality. It began with a single stun grenade and ended with a pastor being shot. Police cornered students firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and dispersing large groups with teargas and water cannons. This continued for at least two hours.
While students were forced into the streets of Braamfontein, a bus was set alight and it is not known if students participated in the destruction. The students on campus at the Trinity Church were being protected by its pastor. The pastor formed a defense between the police and the students and he was then shot by police.
The images were gruesome, the fires burnt, and the ulterior motives hijacked our movement. Albeit the violence Wits has said that the academic programme will go on. Student leadership has said that classes will not go on until we achieve our goal.