The youth wing of Mmusi Maimane’s Build One South Africa has a vision to do away with fees.  

A new political society has been registered at Wits, with its sights set on changing the dynamic of the university’s current representation of young people in decision making processes. 

The Young Builders Movement (YBM), launched at the university on April 13, hopes to fill the gaps that it says other political societies on campus have fallen short of.  Wits YBM chairperson Nikilitha Mxinwa says that these gaps include the choices that young South Africans have had in terms of representation – that have ultimately not allowed for their own voices to be heard. 

Mxinwa says that decisions which affect the youth are made by those who do not understand or are not affected by the issues. These decisions pertain to issues of financial exclusion, fees and accommodation. YBM argues that this is because these decisions come from a “top-down” approach. He describes the society as one which takes a bottom-up approach. “Young leaders on the ground” make decisions about issues that affect them, not “from the top”, he says.

YBM national leader and Wits alumnus Henry Masuku and Mxinwa describe the society as one which can prepare students for life outside of university.  

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, Masuku said that it does so by bringing in experts to teach its members entrepreneurial, business and leadership skills. This is aimed at “alleviating graduate unemployment”.  

Like most political societies on campus, Masuku says Bosa aims to address the unsolved legacy of #FeesMustFall.  

Wits YBM chairperson Nikilitha Mxinwa engages with students across the Library Lawns on April 19, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne

These are systemic issues of higher education that have been widely debated at Wits over many years. Yet the YBM claims that their solutions for these issues are the ones which are “practical”. Masuku only discussed one with Wits Vuvuzela – which is a plan to implement free education, by introducing a system which taxes 1% of graduate’s monthly income once they have found employment.  

The YBM is the youth wing of independent political party Build One South Africa (Bosa), formed by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane. It is inviting South African students, job seekers, and employed professionals between the ages of 18 and 35 to sign-up in person or online. 

In discussions with various students engaging with the YBM on campus, many cited Maimane for their interest. First-year actuarial science student Patrick Nemasea said he prefers “Mmusi’s vision of South Africa [as compared to other political leaders]”, as it builds a country “that stays true to values”. 


YBM national leader Henry Masuku sells their vision to Wits students near the Matrix on April 19, 2023. Photo: Seth Thorne