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The Current #EduCrisisForum And How Students Unite But T-Shirts Divide

In the heat of struggle and battle, marching locked in arms, harmonious in song we don't see the colour of our T-Shirts - red, yellow, green and black.

21/03/2017 03:51 SAST | Updated 21/03/2017 11:40 SAST
Thapelo Maphakela/ Gallo Images/ Getty Images

Grappling with our predicament: why is #FeesMustFall fractured, fragmented and falling at UWC? Sharing feelings of hopelessness; "How do we act, the police and black-ants are everywhere, ready to suppress us at a moment's notice", Eish.

That Water Cannon is busy every morning" "And, SASCO they are counter-revolutionaries", "Who's leading PASMA or EFF... Mfwetu, I can't trust these structures." Together we challenged an intransigent university administration and an education system that aims to exclude us. My somewhat obscure comment "It's the damn t-shirt that divides us!" In the heat of struggle and battle, marching locked in arms, harmonious in song we don't see red, yellow, green and black.

The colour of our t-shirt's informed our political ideology, guided our actions and decisions; whether we accept it or not. We wear it in protest and in battle. It forms part of our identity, history, demonstrates our affiliation, and shows the political elite are entrenched in every facet of our lives.

The question we as students must ask ourselves is who do we represent? The political establishment or the students. It boils down to "Where you sit depends on where you stand". Students find themselves trapped within the confines of the political establishment. As demonstrated at the Higher Education Forum this morning. If political party ideology breeds infighting, then how strong is FMF?

In jest, our somewhat naïve solution is "you must wear a plain t-shirt!" Simple enough. Wearing plain clothes will not solve our problems neither will fractious and divisive ideology. If you want to broaden your thinking then leave the political establishment at home or all together. Establishment ideology has proven itself to be restrictive and has failed in maintaining focus on the problem at hand. Our just and legitimate struggle is sufficient in defining who we are. We value each other and our parents because we sit together, and stand together.

The students' demand for Free Decolonised Education has captured the national agenda. In every classroom across the entire education system, the question of decolonisation is addressed. Sadly, the most successful colonial strategy of divide and rule is exactly what has weakened #FeesMustFall. Perhaps a strategy of decolonisation should be that the students be set free and not continue to be pawns of the political establishment. The student movement of the late 60s and 70s gifted us Black Consciousness without political interference from the anti-colonial liberation movements. Black Consciousness spawned a generation of revolutionary leaders that benefitted these very liberation movements.

A United Independent #FMF Movement has already set the agenda post- apartheid, post-colonial agenda. Allow the next generation of revolutionary leaders to arise and lead.

Division is a T-Shirt.