Over a week ago, students at the University of the Witwatersrand’s main campus in Braamfontein, Johannesburg organized a march and a sit-in to protest the university’s plan to increase tuition by 10.5-percent in the coming year and the upfront registration fee by 6-percent. Many students said the tuition hike would shut them out of continuing their education, so they decided to shut the campus down.

Soon, the hashtag #WitsFeesMustFall  (started by the Wits Progressive Youth Alliance) began spreading across Twitter, inspiring students across South Africa to join the national #FeesMustFall protests.

In addition to Wits, students at the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, Fort Hare University, University of Limpopo, Stellenbosch University, the University of the Free State, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of Pretoria, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, the Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have all joined the movement, which has been fueled by social media.

Wednesday, hundreds of students took their grievances directly to Parliament to protest an agreement between the Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, and university vice chancellors that would cap the tuition increase at 6-percent.

During the session, all representatives from the Economic Freedom Fighters, a political party, were thrown out of the National Assembly when they began chanting, “Fees must fall.”  The ANC, South Africa’s ruling party, condemned the EFF for “hooliganism.”

Outside of Parliament, student protesters were met by heavily armed riot police who used tear gar and flash bang devices to try to break up the demonstration.

Several students have been arrested in #FeesMustFall protests, but they’ve vowed to continue the fight for free higher education. They’ve also won support for their movement from people around the globe.

South African President Jacob Zuma has yet to comment on the protests, but many have said the #FeesMustFall protests remind them of the 1976 Soweto uprisings.

Imraan Christian

Imraan Christian

For more information on the growing #FeesMustFall protests follow The Daily VoxAfrica is a Country, and the Mail & Guardian.

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  • This is certainly a story that must be shown worldwide. I give Clutch great credit in showing information on these vital issues. First, South Africa has changed since the end of apartheid. The white supremacists couldn’t use overt apartheid against lack people. Apartheid being gone is a good thing. Now, South Africa still experiences police brutality, economic inequality, and huge hikes in college tuition rates. Students have every right to make their voices heard. Their actions are similar to what college students did in the States during the 1960’s when American students opposed the Vietnam War, wanted black studies in universities, and wanted a more progressive educational environment. Also, in South Africa, the ANC has become more neoliberal and bourgeois. Once, tons of ANC members fought apartheid in legitimate confrontation. Now, many ANC leaders are allies of the same capitalist forces that continue to economically exploit the region. South African students and the EFF should be commended for their courage and for their activism in fighting back against massive tuition hikes. I wish the best for the movement and women should be given credit in leading this movement for social change. South Africans are always filled with conscious-filled, courageous human beings.


  • Mitch

    Here in this country every year I hear about state universities and colleges raising their tuition 5%, and the people accept it, (wonder why) and get saddled with enormous debt, yet at the same time the highest paid state employee is the football or basketball coach.
    Kinda off topic, but correct me if I am wrong, for k-12 public education do you have to supply your children with the essentials, such as pencils, erasers, folders, etc.? I remember going to school and the only thing my parents had to supply was me.

    • Mico

      Yes to everything you just said. Being a professor or teacher is no longer a steady and sure career. More and more they hike tuition, while lowering professor salaries. They are also hiring more and more adjunct professors, instead of giving them tenure smh. So if it’s not going to the professors then where is it going.

  • Mico

    I stand in solidarity with these brothers and sisters and applaud their resistance. Every human being should have opportunity to succeed and certain segments of the population should not be cut off from jobs and quality education. Hopefully this movement will inspire others globally, more specifically here in the US, tuition hikes and student debt are the norm.

  • D1Mind

    Come on. Most black children in South Africa are going to school in mud huts while white children go to high tech schools with laptops and tablets. And you got all these white folks standing up here acting like it is all about college school fees, when that is too late for most black students. That is why black students in these South African universities are a minority while in a majority black country. And then that leads to a situation where the best jobs and positions go to whites, Asians and non Africans. And that is no different than the US where most black schools are substandard and having budget cuts while suburban white schools are rebuilt every few years and kept brand new. In reality the entire system in South Africa is still based around apartheid and education from start to end is segregated and unequal. If anything black South Africans should be getting free education all the way through college. But of course Negroes will claim this isn’t fair and their ‘liberal’ white friends may be upset but they aren’t upset about white folks having all the land, wealth and resources from 300 years of blatant and open racism and oppression in a majority black country.

    search ‘mud school eastern cape’ or ‘mud school south Africa’ if you don’t believe me.