Class of ‘76 fought for free education

2016-09-08 06:00

This is an open letter to all students in South Africa.

It is call for them to understand that failure by the government to provide them with free education is an insult to the June 16, 1976 generation of students.

The call for the second wave of #FeesMustFall campaign is made in the context of the ANC coughing up over R1bn to campaign in the local government elections, in which it performed poorly in many municipalities.

When students are calling for fees to be scrapped, they are met with disdain and dilly-dallying tactics from the minister(of Education), who seems to have receded his powers to the Council on Higher Education.

Philosophically speaking, the students are correct by calling for free education. According to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, “education means service to Africa”.

In other words, education is a weapon to fulfil our dreams and our future aspirations.

University students should never cease to demand what is rightfully theirs.

By calling for fees to be scrapped they are acting in response to saving the future of South Africa.

Booker T. Washington, an African-American scholar, once said, “success can only be measured by the difficulties which one undergoes in life”.

The PAC has for many years tried to conscientise the African masses about the supremacy of education and its potentiality in the hands of the oppressed. An educated nation is a liberated nation: there is no question about that. Knowledge is power.

PAC demands a free socialist education for all children in Azania. Education is the best investment any government can make to its nation. It is an asset that will never depreciate. Not a single nation has ever sustained its development on borrowed skills and a catastrophic brain-drain.

The cortex of the 1976 uprising was mindful and progressive education. Afrikaans was a symbol of Apartheid and was imposed upon the Black nation to sustain White priviledges and to keep the Black child in the doldrums.

The youth of 1976 rejected the notion of apartheid education.

The example left by the youth of 1976 should propel students in our country to demand free education from primary school all the way up to the first degree for the poorest of the poor for at least the next hundred years.

Graduates are now blacklisted by its own government, which is operating as a loan shark – shirking off its incontrovertible responsibility to educate the nation.

What is the use of granting loans to students, who, after leaving school, are mired in debt?

They cannot realise their dreams and aspirations, because the government refuses to invest in education. Black students died in 1976 demanding education that was mindful and progressive.

Today, in a free and supposedly democratic country, students are persecuted for demanding free education.

Students must revolt against the government if the call for free education is not heeded.

They must understand that the government’s failure to provide them with free education is an insult to the founding fathers of the ANC, PAC and AZAPO, who took the baton from the Africanists who died in the frontiers defending this nation against Colonialism and Apartheid.

Students must fight against the neo-liberal agenda of the ANC.

Africans must be uncomfortable to pay for their rights. They must reject any form of oppression, even if it is dished out by the former freedom fighters in government.

They must reject Blade Nzimande and his comrades for making education, the basic right, for sale.

Education is not for sale. The Pan Africanist Students Movement of Azania (PASMA) and Pan Africanist Student Organisation (PASO) must be at the forefront, leading the revolution on free education.

PASMA must advocate for free socialist education in Azania.

They must stand up and demand it now!

PASMA and PASO should mobilise the youth of South Africa to realise their constitutional right to freedom of association and freedom of protesting.

The freedom fighters in the ANC fold who purported to have struggled to remove the bottlenecks in the path of the national liberation of Africans are now pursuing neoliberal agenda, a colonialist project to undermine the credibility and integrity of an African majority.

Nyameko Sinandile Khayelitsha

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