Wits students worry about helping their families

2016-10-11 15:16
The Great Wall at Wits University. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

The Great Wall at Wits University. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - Two Wits University students’ dreams of helping their families may not come true this year, should protests to demand free tuition continue. 

"I'm really worried about my future. Next year should have been my first year of articles, and I am studying with a scholarship. If I don't graduate this year, my family will not have a solid income for another year," the B.Com student, who asked not to be identified, said on Tuesday. 

She is from Qunu, in the Eastern Cape. She said her family depends on her to make a living. 

"I study and I work at a restaurant in Braamfontein, and every month I send money to my grandmother so she and my brother can eat. I was hoping that that this would be the last year my family suffers. They need me to complete my studies. I'm their only hope," she said. 

Engineering student Phume Nqgulunga, from Soweto, said she understood the struggle for free education, but wanted to complete her degree. She was a beneficiary of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme as an undergraduate.

"I know how it feels not being able to pay for your studies, but at the same time my life is on hold because of the students." 

Nqgulunga said she was in class on Monday when protesting students rushed in and demanded they join the protest. 

"I just heard a loud noise outside and I knew that the class was over. They came in and demanded that we join the protests. I pretended to join them and I went back home," she said. 

Nqgulunga said she and several other students were planning to continue lectures in secret. 

"We don't have another option. We have to finish this year. Our families are counting on us. I am just grateful that our lecturers are willing to make this sacrifice for us." 

Police were given full operational control of Wits University since Monday evening. 

On Tuesday, three police Nyalas, a canine unit, and a water cannon were on the east campus. A small group of students had gathered outside the Great Hall.

Classes seemed to be continuing for some students.

Read more on:    wits university  |  johannesburg ­  |  university protests  |  education  |  university fees

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