Released on South Africa’s Human Rights Day, 21st March 2016


Student protests for free education are no different from service delivery protests that characterises South Africa’s failing state. Free Education is a promise that must be kept, just like free housing, and the return of the land. These are the promises of the ANC that must be kept. A promise is a promise. Students want Free Education as promised by the ANC. People living in shacks want free housing as promised by the ANC. People want land as promised by the ANC. 21 years of democracy should have been enough for the ANC to fulfill these promises. There will be relentless protest action, until all these promises are met; it is inevitable, and evident before our eyes, that these protests will never end until all these promises have been met.

This report is an attempt to document the 2015/16-student rebellion as it unfolded at the University of Western Cape. It is not a mainstream research report, or commentary, nor a journalistic account of what happened on each day of the students’ protest but more of a high-level intelligence report of the UWC Fees Will Fall Movement. The report tells the story from the students’ perspective and glorifies the national Fees Must Fall students’ movement as a timely effort in the history of our democracy, against the backdrop of political contradictions such as corruption that has evidently swayed the attention of former liberation fighters from self-sell service to the people, to self-interests, and luxurious living against the backdrop of appalling poverty levels amongst the majority of black communities in many parts of the country.

This report is a gentle reminder to the ANC government of the power of young people to make progressive change. It is a gentle reminder that “the future belongs to us” (Mzwakhu Mbuli, 1986, The Day Shall Dawn). After reading this report, the ANC government of looters should cease to take for granted the intellect of the Fees Must Fall Movement. Furthermore, this report is a firm statement to erstwhile politicians such as Dr Blade Nzimande, that as young people of this country, we can no longer breathe under the leadership of current politicians who care less about the futures of younger generations, but themselves, cronies, and families. We will forever remain disgusted by wasteful expenditures of our politicians and government officials best manifested in the Zuma administration of looters, sycophants and mafias in bed with the ANC. The looting of state coffers by sycophants is completely unacceptable given the poverty levels in our country. As students we argue that there is enough taxpayers money to fund Free Education. Right wing economists know this very well, but will never admit that Free Education is possible because they stand to benefit from the capitalist system that continues to fail our black communities, the poorest of the poor in townships of the Cape Flats, rural communities, rural towns, urban slums, and former homelands throughout the country. The fact is, our current government is failing to use the state in benefit of the people; instead the state has turned against its own people, through institutionalized violence, especially directed to those who take it to the street in protest for better service delivery. Free Education is service delivery, as this report will show.

This report is divided into 8 chapters as follows:

Chapter 1: “Narrow conceptions of violence: student rebellion lenses” challenges narrow conceptions of violence in the context of emancipatory politics, which strongly condemns ongoing police brutality in South Africa, against the backdrop of human rights enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa. This chapter shows some images of institutionalized violence which is manifested in police brutality – some of the pictures are extremely gruesome, and have been excluded from this report for ethical reasons, but available on request, and consent of the victims of police brutality.

Chapter 2: “Criminalization of student protest action” connects the struggles of students to popular dissent in the country at large such as the infamous Marikana mineworker strike action for example, and municipal service delivery protests, including the killing of Andries Tatane by the state police in 2011. Andries Tatane will forever be our hero because he openly challenged the government of the ANC, and paid the high price for it, death.

Chapter 3: “Politics of victimization, humiliation and paranoia”, draws the attention of the reader to what seems like authoritarian practices of the South African state in its attempts to dampen popular dissent by targeting key individuals (or so-called ring leaders) or those who appear as key allies to protestors in general, and student protestors in particular.

Chapter 4: “Eviction of students from on-campus residences: The politics of racialised geographies” is an attempt to lay bare the racial underpinnings of the eviction of students from UWC residence in November – December 2015. This chapter takes the reader through some history of racialised socio-spatial engineering of the past racist regimes, and how such narrow thinking has been a painful residue or hangover inherited from apartheid, and how it shaped conceptions against the UWC Fees Will Fall Movement.

Chapter 5: “SASCO, ANC & Politics of independence in the (black) student movement” is an attempt to lay bare the political contradictions of SASCO, and how that student movement has been co-opted by the ANC. We argue that there is no SASCO, but the ANC, and we explain why we strongly believe so.

Chapter 6: “Militarisation of UWC by state and private security forces” uses UWC as a lens to raise questions about the nature of our state, and the nature of our democracy in the age of surveillance of activists by our paranoid state.

Chapter 7: “The politics of containment: Anti-student rebellion negotiations”, takes the reader through the negotiation processes that occurred between UWC Fees Will Fall Movement and UWC Management from November – December 2015. In a nutshell, this chapter argues that such negotiations were merely attempts of containment of the UWC Fees Will Fall Movement by UWC Management.

Chapter 8: Workers’ struggle against outsourcing at UWC: “The beginning of the end”, takes the reader through the efforts of UWC workers’ struggle for the end of outsourcing, which coincided with the 2015/16 student rebellion in that university. This chapter explains how these efforts reached a deadlock when it became apparent that there are strong allegations of (undeclared) self-interest, and collusion (if not corruption) between some members of UWC management and the outsourced companies at UWC. Chapter 8 concludes with a proposal for investigative journalism to probe into these allegations of undeclared conflict of interests and collusion between some UWC personnel in the upper echelons of the university, and outsourced companies which have “shareholding” links implicating some of the most influential political leaders of the ANC, such as Cyril Ramaphosa. Chapter 8 makes it vividly clear that the dynamics that unfolded at the Marikana massacre were invoked at UWC, it terms of very similar political contradictions that are laid bare by this chapter in particular.

Please click link to download full report: Student Rebellion Counter Narrative UWC_Final Draft_ 21 March 2016




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Onkgopotse Abram Tiro was born in 1947. He was one of the main leaders instrumental in the creation of the black power movement in South Africa. His legacy serves as an inspiration for the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprisings. To this end he politically groomed Tsietsi Mashinini who later became one of the great leaders of the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprisings. During his historic speech at the 1972 university graduation ceremony Tiro boldly condemned the white supremacist bantu education system as being anti black. He was consequently expelled from university. He then taught black history at a school in Soweto and thus raised the revolutionary consciousness of his students. On this 42nd anniversary of the assassination of Tiro by the apartheid regime via a parcel bomb in Botswana on 1 February 1974 – BLF remembers this true martyr of the Azanian Revolution by reissuing the speech he delivered at the graduation ceremony of University of the North on 29 April 1972.

“Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chancellor and gentlemen, allow me to start off by borrowing language from our Prime Minister, Mr. Vorster. Addressing the A. S. B [ Afrikaanse Studenteond ] Congress in June last year, Mr Vorster said, “No Black man has landed in trouble for fighting for what is legally his.” Although I don’t know how far true this is, I make this statement my launch pad.

R. D Briensmead, an American lay preacher says, “He who withholds the truth or debars men from motives of its expediency, is either a coward, a criminal or both.” Therefore Mr. Chancellor I will try as much as possible to say nothing else but the truth. And to me “truth” means “practical reality.” Addressing us on the occasion of the formal of the formal opening of this university Mr. [Cedric] Phatudi, a Lebowa territorial authority officer, said that in as much as there is American Education, there had to be Bantu Education. Ladies and gentlemen, I am conscientiously bound to differ with him. In America there is nothing like Negro Education, Red Indian Education, and White American Education. They have American Education common to all Americans. But in South Africa, we have Bantu Education, Indian Education, Coloured Education and European Education. We do not have a system of education common to all South Africans. What is there in European Education which is not good for the African? We want a system of education which is common to all South Africans.

In theory Bantu Education gives our parents a say in our education but in practice the opposite is true. At this University, U. E D [University Education Diploma] students are forced to study Philosophy of Education through the medium of Afrikaans. When we want to know why, we are told that the senate has decided so. Apparently this senate is our parents. Time and again I ask myself: How do Black lecturers contribute to the administration of this University? For if you look at all the committees, they are predominantly White if not completely White. Here and there one finds two or three Africans who, in the opinion of students are White Black men. We have a Students’ Dean without duties. We feel that if it is in any way necessary to have Students’ Dean, we must elect our own Dean. We know people who can represent us.

The Advisory Council is said to be representing our parents. How can it represent them when they have not elected it? These people must of necessity please the man who appointed them. This Council consists of Chiefs who have never been to University. How can they know the needs of students when they have not subjected to the same conditions. Those who have been to University have never studied Bantu Education. What authentic opinion can they express when they don’t know how painful it is to study under a repugnant system of education? I wonder if this Advisory knows that a Black man has been most unceremoniously kicked out of the bookshop. Apparently, this is reserved for Whites. According to this policy, Van Schaiks has no right to run a bookshop here. A White member of the Administration has been given the meat contract to supply the University – a Black University. Those who amorphously support the policy may say that there are no Black people to supply it. My answer to them is: why are they not able to supply the University? What is the cause? Is it not conveniently done that they are not in a position to supply these commodities?

White students are given vacation jobs at this university when there are students who could not get their results due to outstanding fees. Why does the Administration not give these jobs to these students? These White students have 11 universities where they can get vacation jobs. Does the Administration expect me to get a vacation job at the University of Pretoria? Right now, our parents have come all the way from their homes only to be locked outside. We are told that the hall is full. I do not accept the argument that there is no accommodation for them. In 1970, when the Administration wanted to accommodate everybody, a tent was put up and close-circuit television was installed. Front seats are given to people who cannot even cheer us. My father is seated there at the back. My dear people, shall we ever get a fair deal in this land? The land of our fathers. The system is failing. It is failing because even those recommended it strongly, as the only solution to racial problems in South Africa, fail to adhere to the letter and the spirit of the policy. According to the policy we expected Dr. Eiselen to decline Chancellorship in favour of a Black man. My dear parents, these are injustices no normal student can tolerate-no matter who he is and where he comes from.

In the light of what has been said above, the challenge to every Black graduate in this country lies in the fact that the guilt of all wrongful actions in South Africa, restriction without trial, repugnant legislation, expulsions from schools, rests on all those who do not actively dissociate themselves from and work for the eradication of the system breeding such evils. To those who wholeheartedly support the policy of apartheid I say: Do you think that the White minority can willingly commit political suicide by creating numerous states which might turn out to be hostile in the future? We Black graduates, by virtue of our age and academic standing are being called upon to bear greater responsibilities in the liberation of our people. Our so-called leaders have become the bolts of the same machine which is crushing us as a nation. We have to go back to them and educate them. Times are changing and we should change with them. The magic story of human achievement gives irrefutable proof that as soon as nationalism is awakened among the intelligentsia, it becomes the vanguard in the struggle against alien rule. Of what use will be your education is not linked with the entire continent of Africa it is meaningless. Remember that Mrs. Suzman said, “There is one thing which the minister cannot do: He cannot ban ideas from men’s minds.”

In conclusion Mr. Chancellor I say: Let the Lord be praised, for the day shall come, when all shall be free to breathe the air of freedom which is theirs to breathe and when the day shall have come, no man, no matter how many tanks he has, will reverse the course of events.

God Bless you all.”


Contact Details
Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@­gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.co­m

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.c­om



The BLF SM has been working hard over the latter part of 2015, including the December period and this contribution toward black liberation has culminated in the launching of the BLF Student Movement at University of Venda (UNIVEN).

While we do not praise fish for swimming, and in the same way we cannot applaud revolutionaries for dedication to revolution; we do recognise that at this time when the distraction of youth seeks to subvert us from black liberation, these cadres have shown commitment to revolutionary duty.

In the spirit of SANKOFA, we remember that it was the principled approach to liberation that saw Steve Biko dedicate his entire life, including his  youth to black liberation. Acknowledging this we call on the BLF SM at UNIVEN to remain principally committed to black liberation and in so doing, they must remind their peers that fundamentally youth struggles are black struggles and therefore black revolution is the duty of every black person.

Free The Mind, Free The Land!

26 JANUARY 2016
Contact Details
Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@­

Black First Land First Student Movement Mail: blfsm@blf.org.za

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.co­m

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.c­om