The short lifespan of the black mannequin


STRANGE FRUIT: The black mannequin that was hanging on a tree at the Wits Lawns during #IsrealApartheidWeek was swiftly removed after outraged by its insensitivity. Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama

ON Tuesday, a picture of a black mannequin hanging by a noose from a tree at the Wits Library Lawns, made rounds on social media. The image was retweeted more than 600 times with Twitter users expressing outrage at the image which they said resembled the lynchings of black men in America.


The mannequin was hung late Monday night with clothes and placards but was discovered the following morning undressed.

Arriving on the scene almost an hour after the picture went viral, Wits Vuvuzela was told by SRC general secretary, Fasiha Hassan that the exhibition was part of #IsraelApartheidWeek activities and represented Israel’s disregard for black lives.

The message was clearly not well received, with some students not understanding its meaning.

Around 15 minutes later, Wits PSC members came and wrapped a Palestinian keffiyeh around the neck of the mannequin along with a t-shirt with the words, “Resistance is not Terrorism.”

A little while after that the mannequin was taken down, allegedly by students who felt insulted by the exhibition.

The mannequin was left on the ground of the library lawns, in two halves. When one of the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee students was asked what happened to the exhibition, he replied: “It wasn’t received as we had wished.”

On Wednesday night, the Wits PSC released a statement apologising for the exhibition.


Review: The girl without a sound

Black Girl Magic: The digital children's book by actress, Buhle Ngaba, tells the story of finding your voice. Photo: Supplied

Black Girl Magic: The digital children’s book by actress, Buhle Ngaba, tells the story of finding your voice.
Photo: Supplied

What does it mean to find your voice? And as women of colour, who have historically been marginalised and (physically) silenced in many ways, how do we write, so that we don’t perpetuate the same oppressive culture? For Buhle Ngaba, her eagerness to speak back and ‘find her voice’ came in the form of writing a children’s book. (more…)

Review: The Sound Of Silence at WAM

Alfredo 2

WALKING INTO DARKNESS: Attendees walk inside the large and dark aluminium installation piece by artist, filmmaker and architect Alfredo Jaar.                          Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama

The second civil war in Sudan was from 1983 to 2005. Twenty-two years characterised by famine, disease and death. And as with any war situation, journalists and photographers were there, documenting the horrors of the war.

One of these photojournalists, Kevin Carter, became world famous after taking the iconic picture of a crouching baby girl being stalked by a vulture at a refugee camp.

Carter, who was part of the prominent Bang-bang club (a group of four white-male photographers who became known for taking pictures of apartheid violence in the late 80’s) and who won a Pulitzer Prize for the image, is said to have taken 20 minutes to take the picture. The question then has always been, why did Carter not go and help the little girl? A girl whose name, face and identity has now disappeared into the blank spaces of history where the most vulnerable (black bodies mostly) disappear into nothingness.

Bringing this picture taken in 1993 back into the spotlight is Chilean-born, New York-based artist, filmmaker and architect Alfredo Jaar. Showing at the Wits Art Museum, the installation work, called The Sound Of Silence, consists of a very large aluminium structure in the middle of the museum. On the side facing the entrance of the museum, the structure has large horizontal white lights. At the back of the box is an entrance to a pitch black cinema where a large black screen shows words written in white.

Kevin. Carter. Kevin Carter. The words read, going on to tell the story of the troubled photojournalist. In the silence and darkness of the room, one is absorbed into the screen. Towards the end of the display, four mounted cameras flash brightly to blind the audience, only to slowly reveal the picture in discussion.

Once the picture is revealed the words go on to examine the corporate ownership of such images and how such images are made to feed into capitalist consumption based on who owns them.

“For me this exhibition [in Johannesburg] is the most important exhibition of The Sound Of Silence,” said Jaar at the opening. “This is the 26th time that this work has been shown but finally for me The Sound Of Silence has come home. This is it’s home, this is the home of Kevin Carter, the protagonist of this work and I am very proud that it is being shown here.”

Following Jaar’s oeuvre, this installation challenges viewers to examine the problematic ways in which consumers and image makers partake in a process of giving or taking away power. Jaar indirectly asks, what is the responsibility of image makers (photographers, photojournalists)? And what is the responsibility of consumers and viewers? The ethical implications of capturing, owning and distributing such politically charged images are deeply questioned.


The Sound of Silence is showing at the Wits Art Museum from 23 February to Sunday 10 April 2016.

Art in times of a coming revolution

ITAI Hakim is a folk-soul singer, guitarist and songwriter with a sense of humor and a consciousness that allows for thoughtful conversation and spine-chilling socially aware music.

ITAI HAKIM: The singer,

ITAI HAKIM: The singer, songwriter and guitarist is planning o releasing more music and more creative collaborations this year. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Born in Diepkloof, Soweto, Hakim says he grew up listening to the likes of West Life, Andrea Bocelli, and only later were his tastes in music challenged. “From the get go I wasn’t listening to anything traditional or deeply black. I think my first interaction with a black musician was Craig David, and you know he is very sanitised,” he says.

He went to a mostly white primary school “in the suburbs and I became culturally assimilated.” His first encounters with “race” as a social qualifier of space and opportunity was in high school, “when your white friend can’t come over and sleep at your house because you live in Soweto, that’s when you realise that something is off,” he says laughing.

By the time Hakim got to Wits University, where he studied Psychology, Sociology, English and Philosophy, his conceptions of the world and music were highly influenced by the “underground” hip hop, slam poetry and live music scene of the late 2000’s.

By the time 2012 came, he had been performing in gigs around Johannesburg in different bands and he would later be signed, as part of the group 8 Bars Short at Motif records (although this didn’t work out as planned). He would also perform his Tsonga and Venda folk vocals in a tour of the United Kingdom with the band, The Brother Moves On.

“My question even as an artist is ‘how big is your fight?’”

For him going to the UK was a sobering experience, “it was great in the sense that it felt like it was all me, you know, I couldn’t be like it was because of someone else who made it happen.”

With an upcoming international tour, an EP and an album to be released later this year, the current events that have woken different forms of resistance in universities across the country have pushed Hakim, and many other artists, to interrogate the inextricable connections between art and politics. “Will inequality exist forever? That scares me… I don’t think that, or at least I don’t want that to be the case. So we need to make a plan, so that this is not the case,” he says.

“My question even as an artist is ‘how big is your fight?’” he says. “It’s the same thing as an artist, as a journalist, as a doctor, as a policeman. You always have the issues of justice that you always have to negotiate with internally.”


CONSCIOUS MUSICIANS: Itai Hakim is also part of the group, Children Of The Wind with poet Modise Sekgothe. Photo: Michelle Gumede

One of Hakim’s interests are in storytelling, specifically writing books for young black children with black illustrations as a way to counter and speak against a narrative that feeds young black children whiteness and white values from a young age.

Pointing to a book he is currently reading by black feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, called Black Looks: Race and Representation, he speaks about how the book has helped him contextualize notions of black representation and how certain messages i.e. writing black children’s books, are important, valid and necessary.

Speaking about the student movement and the paintings that were burnt by #RhodesMustFall activists at the University of Cape Town he says: “I just found myself asking the question, ‘kanti how is a revolution supposed to happen?’ We can’t always be in dialogue debating, and in meetings, no. And I feel like South Africa has been here before.”

“What do you expect to happen? You gonna spend R2 million on secret police and tell us there is no money for kids?”

With music projects, theatre collaborations, and writing projects coming up, Hakim believes the question that artists should be asking themselves now is, “as an artist you are never neutral… are you just doing this just to be popular or are you for real for real? I think every artist needs to ask themselves that question at some point.”

No classes at Walter Sisulu University

The Walter Sisulu University in East London has also been engaging in the nationwide university strikes for the insourcing of service staff and the lack of accommodation and funding for students. 

Classes at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU), in East London in the Eastern Cape, have not begun since the beginning of the academic year due to ongoing student and worker protests.

While the students are complaining of very limited accommodation and lack of NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) funding, the service staff are calling for an end to outsourcing and the exploitative working environment they say characterises the system.

“Classes were due to begin on the 8th of February and that was the only day we attended classes.”

According to one of the student protesters and 2nd year Journalism student, Tebogo Gantsa, all of the campuses are currently shut down and “we have decided that we will embark on a three day stay away to give management an opportunity so that we can see if they’re going to implement the resolutions that they have taken with the SRC,” he said.

“Classes were due to begin on the 8th of February and that was the only day we attended classes. On that day there was a communique that said that the University will be shut down,” Gantsa says.

Gantsa told Wits Vuvuzela that only one concession had been made since the beginning of the strike action by students, “on the 17th of February … we said that for them [management] to resolve some issues the campus needs to be open but only for non-academic activities. So all the administration people were allowed to go back to work,” he said.

Some of the grievances from the students include the lack of accommodation, even for “deserving students who qualify” for it, the University’s unwillingness to help students find alternative private accommodation, and the exclusion from residence of students who, although they qualify for NSFAS, did not get funding because NSFAS has “insufficient funds”.


Echoing the voices of other student protesters across university campuses in the country, Gantsa insisted that students were never violent during protests and that they were rather intimidated and attacked by heavy handed campus security and the police. He also urged people to problematize the term ‘violence’. “Students here have been psychologically impacted by the presence of private security on our campuses. The security literally follows us everywhere,” he said.

“Close to 100 workers … signed a memorandum … demanding a minimum salary of R10 000 per month.”

Working in parallel with the student movement is the worker’s movement which includes service workers  employed by security, cleaning, catering and landscaping companies, all fighting to be insourced and to get employment benefits from the University. Close to 100 workers who get paid between R2400 and R3800 a month, signed a memorandum on January 28 that they sent to the University and their respective companies demanding a minimum salary of R10 000 per month and a change to insourcing.

The representative of the workers and an Art History lecturer at the university, Churchill Madikida says that none of the companies or the university have responded to the memorandum, instead, workers have been threatened with dismissal and others have been sent to disciplinary hearings.

One disciplinary hearing notice letter, which Wits Vuvuzela is in the possession of, cites the reasons for the hearings as “inciting other employees to commit an act or acts that are detrimental to the company; Intimidation of serious nature in that you force fellow employees to sign a petition” and “leaving and/or abandoning your post without authorization and/or a valid reason.”

According to Madikida, some of the employees have been denied their preferred representation at these hearings, “some of them cannot speak English properly meaning they won’t be able to represent themselves”, which puts them at a disadvantage.

The WSU was established in 2005 through a merger of the University of Transkei, Border Technikon and the Eastern Cape Technikon.

While they wait for some of the responses to their memorandums to come through, Gantsa went on to say that the struggles in historically black universities were not given as much media attention as those in other, historically white and elite institutions. In an article he wrote in support of the outsourced workers he says, “We must guard vigilantly against this unbundling and narrowing of our otherwise intertwined struggles. What needs to happen, as matter of urgency, is the creation of a link between both the students and workers struggles.”

A week of university protests

Student movements around the country have taken to the streets to protest and express their grievances at the lack of accommodation and funding for needy students. Here is a roundup of most most of the activities for this week.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Students clash with security guards during a protest at the University of Cape Town on February 17, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. Students continued with their protest against the shortage of student accommodation at the university. (Photo by Gallo Images / Die Burger / Lulama Zenzile)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Students clash with security guards during a protest at the University of Cape Town on February 17, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. Students continued with their protest against the shortage of student accommodation at the university.                                                                   (Photo by Gallo Images / Die Burger / Lulama Zenzile)

This week student movements around the country all embarked on numerous protests highlighting issues of financial exclusion, lack of accommodation for black students, outsourcing and clearance of historical debt.

On Wednesday night a Wits University bus was set alight outside Knockando residence. No one has claimed responsibility for the fire and the university was investigating.

The protests kicked off at the University of Cape Town (UCT) when the Rhodes Must Fall movement erected a shack on Upper campus to protest against the lack of accommodation. The university sent private security and police to demolish the shack and RMF students responded by burning “colonial” paintings, a car, Jammie Shuttle bus and an administrative building on Wednesday.
A member of RMF who was present when the torching of the paintings, vehicles and administrative building happened explained the motivation for the burning: “The burning of the pictures is twofold, the one is that black people are very angry to be found in an anti-black institution and expected to just exist, or rather not really exist. And then to be confronted with these colonial artworks in the same way as being confronted with the Rhodes statue.”

“This speaks to the idea that black people are not taken seriously. So you can remove a statue but you think there is no relevance in thinking about the artwork or other aspects of the space which black people have to participate in,” said the RMF member.

The RMF member argued that burning down buildings was a resolution of the question of Frantz Fanon’s “revolutionary violence.”

A group of eight students were arrested and later released on bail after they were dispersed from Upper and Lower campuses using stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Also in Cape Town, #UWCFeesWillFall students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) occupied their student centre and handed over a memorandum to UWC director of legal services Shervaan Rajie on Wednesday. The movement is calling for academic programmes to be suspended so that matters relating to financial exclusion, the clearing of historical debt and accommodation could dealt with first.

According to the #UWCFeesWillFall students nothing has changed at the university, “The university … made a promise that they will talk about the issue of free registration and historical debt being cleared, but instead we are seeing students … being asked to pay R4 800,” #UWCFeesMustFall member Monde Nonabe told GroundUp.

A member of the #UWCFeesWillFall movement who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of victimisation by the university said that he felt historically black institutions such as UWC were not given the same level of attention as other historically white institutions.

At the University of KwaZulu Natal workers, with students in solidarity, fighting to be insourced by the university closed down the institution resulting in the university getting a court interdict against the workers.

On Thursday at the ‘University Currently Known as Rhodes’, students from the Black Student’s Movement joined the nationwide protest against financial exclusion under the hashtag #nisixoshelani.

‘Colonial’ paintings a burning issue at UCT

Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) and fellow student protesters have defended the burning of “colonial” paintings, a car, Jammie Shuttle bus and the administrative building at the University of Cape Town (UCT) last night. The university property was set alight after private security and police demolished #Shackville, a shack erected by RMF students on Upper Campus, close to where the Cecil John Rhodes statue was situated.

A member of RMF who was present when the torching of the paintings, vehicles and administrative building happened explained the motivation for the burning.: “The burning of the pictures is twofold, the one is that black people are very angry to be found in an anti-black institution and expected to just exist, or rather not really exist. And then to be confronted with these colonial artworks in the same way as being confronted with the Rhodes statue … This speaks to the idea that black people are not taken seriously. So you can remove a statue but you think there is no relevance in thinking about the artwork or other aspects of the space which black people have to participate in.”

Speaking about the burning of UCT property, the member said, “This is a response to the violence by the state and by the institution as well … As black people there is a cathartic feeling of responding to violence with violence, by setting fire and burning down an anti-black institution. [The fire] is a small descriptive way of explaining what the anti-black UCT does to black people.”

The RMF member argued that burning down buildings was a resolution of the question of Frantz Fanon’s “revolutionary violence.”

“What is violence when we [as black people] are committing it and what is violence when the institution is committing it? When we brought it to the ground we came to the decision that we have to target UCT, the space, the actual building, because the building acts against the students. The administration particularly works against black students … [UCT Vice Chancellor] Max Price is the reason why police come on campus, why they fire rubber bullets, why they imprison our cadres and basically why black people are pushed out.”

A group of eight students were arrested and later released on bail after they were dispersed from Upper and Lower campuses using stun grenades and rubber bullets. According to the group was charged with malicious damage to property and public violence.

The recent #Shackville demonstrations started on Monday, the first day of lectures at UCT, in protest of the lack of accommodation for black students. RMF erected the shack on Upper Campus as part of the protest.

According to a statement released by RMF yesterday, “Shackville is a representation of Black dispossession, of those who have been removed from land and dignity by settler colonialism, forced to live in squalor.” The statement further cites “theft of Black land” as one of the reasons for black students being systemically excluded from education and accommodation.

“It is necessary, therefore, to impose this image onto our campus where there is a purposeful attempt by UCT to hide away from its complicity in the violence experienced by those in shacks and townships throughout the country,” the statement said.

“UCT cannot continue as normal when outsourcing has not ended and workers are left unclear as to the conditions of their employment. UCT cannot continue as normal while fees have not fallen and Black students continue to be financially excluded from university. UCT cannot continue as normal when it has lied to us about exclusion, and chased people out of residences, denying students the means to study.”



No Education? “On whose Land?”

The Wits Fees Must Fall movement held a Free Education Live fundraising concert last Saturday, featuring artists like The Brother Moves On, Zethina Moses, Children of The Wind and The Muffinz.

A layer of cigarette smoke lay above the heads of the young radicals, hippies and conscious cool kids of Braamfontein last Saturday at the Free Education Live fundraising concert organised by the Wits University chapter of the Fees Must Fall (FMF) movement.

The Free Education Live fundraising concert is a concept meant to take the struggle for free, decolonised education to the wider public, said one of the organisers and member of Wits FMF, Lebohang Shikwambane. “Also, when we speak about free education we are not solely speaking about finance, or money, or having financial access to education. We are talking about a decolonised education. We are talking about tearing down those walls of colonial knowledge and colonial episteme.”

As part of the programme for the day students of the movement led a discussion into the #Asinamali campaign, the progression of the movement from inception to now and the individual experiences of the students as they navigated and struggled their way through movement and university politics.


SHARING EXPERIENCES: Sarah Mokwebo telling the story of the formation of the Fees Must Fall movement at Wits in 2015.                                                                                     Photo: Michelle Gumede

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion session was the clarification of the journey of the movement undertaken by one of the members, Sarah Mokwebo.

Mokwebo started from the very beginning, sharing narratives that are rarely heard in mainstream media. She spoke of how the movement initially began, at Wits, as the ‘October 6’ movement which was fighting for the rights of workers in the university space. The following week ‘October 6’ then began a collision with the Wits SRC to shut down the university, under the rallying call of #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing.

She then moved the narrative to the hyper-masculine posture the movement then assumed after former SRC president Mcebo Dlamini and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters chair Vuyani Pambo emerged (or pushed forward – whichever way you choose to look at it) as the main leaders of the movement. The result of two males as the face of movement led the women of the movement to create the #MbokodoLead hashtag and march. The point of this was to push forward female leaders, namely former SRC president Shaerra Kalla and current SRC president Nompendulo Mkatshwa, who are as equally capable as the males leaders and to avoid the erasure of women in the movement.

The unequal power relations that resulted from having leaders aligned to the ruling party, the occupation of the union buildings and the interdicts issued against some of the members of the movement were also discussed in detail.

After the discussions, the performances began interspersed with the loud singing of freedom songs from the crowd.

The artists, The Brother Moves On, Zethina Moses, Children of the Wind and The Muffinz amongst others, performed because, as Shikwambane said, they were “people who also believe in the idea, right? Who believe in a decolonised education.”


MOVING SOUNDS: Children Of The Wind performed for the ‘woke’ crowd at the #FMF concert.                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Michelle Gumede

The Brother Moves On were as electrifying as usual, The Children Of The Wind moved people with their effortless soulfulness, and as the sun was setting and the heat finally subsiding, The Muffinz lit a different kind fire on stage.

Providing reasons for why they felt it particularly important as artists to perform at the concert, Itai Hakim, guitarist and vocalist for The Children Of The Wind said, “as an artist you know, art needs to speak to the condition of the times… If we [as artists] don’t get together and mobilise the people then what are you doing? what is your art doing? What’s the point? Are you just here just to be popular and just become famous or is there an actual message and a point behind your work and is that point relevant to what is happening in front of you.”

Sifiso “Atomza” Buthelezi, one of the vocalists and guitarists in The Muffinz, said “the fees must fall, there is no negotiations. No zero percent for this year, the fees must fall forever,” to roaring approvals of ‘yes!’ and ‘amandla!’ from the now inebriated crowd. “By prohibiting access to equal education you’re further building this concept of the ghetto … We know we’ve got the brains, but then they say you can’t afford to be here, what does that mean? You can’t afford to be here? On whose land?”

What became clear from the discussions, both inside and outside, was that Fees Must Fall is a contested space. But it is also a space were individuals are allowed the freedom to speak, feel and heal.

*Itai Hakim’s comment added after publication.


Academics lend a hand to the #Access campaign

The Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu) has donated R100 000 to the #Access campaign, which aims to raise R10 million by the end of February for students they classify as the “missing middle.”


#DOUBLEUP WITH FUNDING: ASAWU has donated money to the SRC’s #Access campaign which helps secure funding for students they deem as the “missing middle”. More than 87% of union members who voted agreed to donating the money.                      Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama


The academic trade union held a poll among its members to ascertain whether the donation should happen or not, and over 87% of those who voted agreed to the donation.

#Access is a campaign organised by the Student Representative Council’s (SRC) to help students in the “missing middle” who cannot afford fees but are not poor enough to qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), “We are excited and pleased to support this initiative”

“The funds will be used to address funding shortfalls and the clearing of existing debt for students seeking to return to Wits,” Asawu said in a statement.

The union has over 750 members of whom, approximately 280 participated in the poll.

“The money will come from the Asawu reserves. Which is money that we have saved over the years in order to support strategic priorities or legal fees of members,” said David Hornsby, the president of Asawu and International Relations senior lecturer.

Hornsby also said, “We are excited and pleased to support this initiative”.

The SRC’s #Access campaign is part of the student formation’s humanitarian fund and it received a R2-million donation from one of South Africa’s largest banks, Nedbank, on the day it was launched.

Along with the proceeds from the O-week beer garden, the SRC organised a flea market, a raffle, a “Fill Up The Jar” campaign and has a donation portal on the Wits University website to raise funds for the campaign.

The campaign happens against the backdrop of continuing protests from many of the country’s university campuses for free education.

“This really underscores the commitment that Wits academics maintain for improving accessibility to those in need and how we collectively recognise the importance of higher education to the development aspirations of South Africa,” Hornsby said.

The funding struggle is real

My name is Tebogo Langa* I am studying  a bachelor of Accounting and I am in my second year.

What happened was, I have, I had an outstanding fee of R19 433 and because I wrote a deferred exam in January automatically my NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) application for this year was declined, so I was told. I went to the SRC to find out if they can’t help me register because that was my main objective coming back to school this year.

There is a particular gentleman that promised that he would help, he even spoke to my brother last week Wednesday and said that he will meet Fees Office to ensure that by Friday I am registered. So on Thursday, the day after, I think the 4th of February, I call him he doesn’t answer his phone, it goes straight to voicemail.

So I call my brother and tell him that “listen, faculty has given me until the 8th as the last day to register, if not then I’m not gonna be able to come back to school.” So he had to take a loan to pay the outstanding fee, a loan of R20 000, and that’s how I managed to register.

I lost both my parents. I am from a family of five kids. My eldest brother, he is the one who actually takes care of us, he is a Metro Police, he works for JMPD, so that’s how he managed to get the loan coz he has a payslip, he qualified for it. But repaying it means that his family and our family are now having to do some financial adjustments and what seems like basic essential food to a lot of people to us is like luxury. From that we also need to cut down to ensure that he doesn’t go into further debt. I am the only one in the family to go to varsity.

I wasn’t [on Financial Aid] last year. I applied for it but they said my application papers got lost in the system. That’s why I didn’t have funding last year. But the year before I did have NSFAS.

I had to pay registration fee last year by myself, after paying it they said that all the appeal decisions would be out in March. And when they were out, in their system I basically hadn’t applied because they didn’t have my supporting documents. So throughout last year I have been contacting higher departments, I’ve got emails I can send them to you. I’ve got emails stating that I’ve been tryna find funding but when they come back into the school and they find out my financial standing, whether I qualify for NSFAS or not, they say they can’t help me because I’m not a NSFAS student. But they didn’t look into the fact whether I qualify for it or not but the fact that the system says I didn’t apply, they couldn’t help me.

I have appealed the NSFAS decision because they declined my application because I wrote a deferred, but the appeal will only be answered on the 31st of March so I think then will I know which way to go, but if the appeal is unsuccessful I don’t know how

I am going to pay this year’s fees.

I stay in Alexandra so I travel to and from school. I have never stayed at res before because when I had NSFAS I didn’t want to pay a bigger bill, but now that the years are going by and the workload is getting tougher its actually exhausting travelling, spending over an hour on the road and not having to stay on campus longer because of transportation so you are actually limited as to what you can and cannot do on campus.

I think the one thing I have learnt from working with the SRC in particular is, I know they’re working with a lot of people but can they not make promises that they cannot fulfill because had my brother not gone and took out this loan I wouldn’t be a student right now.

I know people who owed up to R60 000 from last year alone, those kinds of people can’t get that sort of money right now. I mean if the bank were to give you a loan of R60 000 they’d need actual property as surety, and say the parents fail to pay [the loan] back they now need to sell the only thing that they have, their only home.”

*As told to Zimasa Mpemnyama

*Names have been changed