North West University (NWU) students have started doing a 300 km walk from Mahikeng to Johannesburg to honour activists who participated in the Fees Must Fall movement which started years ago.
This month of October commemorates five years since the official start of the movement. The Fees Must Fall movement saw students all over South Africa advocating for increasing of fees to be stopped and for Government to increase funding for Universities.
SABC News reports that this walk is part of the build-up to the main event of the Fees-Must-Fall commemoration expected to be held on Saturday in Braamfontein.
The walk is being done to honour and express how grateful they are to those who participated in the movement. Many of these students have criminal records because of their participation, said Leader of the Maf to Jozi walk, Bozane Zuma.
Many of them are having criminal records and some are still under house arrests. So, we are calling on everyone to commemorate this thing because people have suffered. People have put their lives in danger. People have put their academics in danger.
– Bozane Zuma
One student said, “I had challenges before Fees Must Fall. I couldn’t register. After the Fees Must Fall, I was able to register. Now I am doing my final year”.
Another student even travelled from Kimberley to join the march because she says, “it’s for a good cause”.
Obakeng Kusca who is currently in his first year of studying Industrial Psychology said that with his mother is unemployed and his father receives an income from jobs here and there, he dreamed of studying further and that it might not have become a reality if it wasn’t for the movement.
He said, “We are studying for free. We are residing for free. We are getting meals for free. So, we just want to appreciate them for their efforts”.
Many students believe that the movement done a lot and benefitted many underprivileged students.
NWU’s SRC Deputy President, Thabang Tlale, told SABC:
The campus SRC Deputy President, Thabang Tlale, says, “This Fees-Must-Fall movement was able to trigger the government to say let’s give these NSFAS students bursaries to be able to assist our students. I can tell you that because of that initiative, as we speak, we are having students who are getting R1 500 monthly. Their fees are paid 100%. Previously, it was not doing that, and it used to be a loan before.
The walk began on Monday and is expected to span over five days as students expect to get to Johannesburg either late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé