Attending lectures while students are protesting means vilifying the poor as dangerous hyenas because it co-operates with the idea that the militarised campus is necessary to protect your education.
I’m really disappointed at apologists confirming the ethical necessity of free education but holding the indignant stance that their privilege should never be interfered with; those who begin with the premise that protests are protesters’ first resort, that consultations have not been going on the whole year and that political will is thwarted by financial constraints and that the poor’s rights are logistically impossible right now.
How is this racist?
Racism as a term has been largely conflated with racialism, but truly racism is an anti-black culture that informs a person’s political and ideological reality. It is racist (anti-black) to say that black people have rights that cannot be enforced, especially enforced in a way that is against your immediate interests.
Attending lectures co-operates with this anti-black narrative that the poor are poor because there isn’t enough money in the country to afford education for all. Attending lectures co-operates with vilifying the poor as dangerous hyenas because it co-operates with the idea that the militarised campus is necessary to protect your educating.
To continue this shorthand explanation, we are all ethically conflicted when we access campus because if we can access campus it means we are privileged enough to arrive, and to enter through the privilege scanning Vetus Schola on the one hand, and are undercutting the effectiveness of the ethically correct struggle for education on the other while ourselves vying to become educated.
Too often the young are pointed out as just as lazy and intellectually malnourished as the ruling party, and when the young turn against this narrative tide and do what must be done to achieve the most morally upright of causes, they are labelled as hooligans and mindless.
I desperately struggle to get out of bed, especially in these times, because what I do with my day has very powerful ethical consequences and it betrays the things I say I believe in to the things that I do. I struggle because attending classes means gambling with the future of millions of poor South Africans. DM
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KNeo Mokgopa is fourth year law student at the University of Cape Town on a NSFAS loan. He is the Editor of the African Union Chapter publication I Africx and an all-round creative practitioner. He contributes writings to various organisations from the international youth slam poetry festival Brave New Voices to the South African Badilisha Poetry.
"We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson