It may not be my last time in prison - Bonginkosi Khanyile

2017-03-02 16:35
Bonginkosi Khanyile supporters outside the Durban Magistrate's Court (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Bonginkosi Khanyile supporters outside the Durban Magistrate's Court (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban - Come hell, high water or even imprisonment, Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile is determined to continue the fight for "decolonised education" in his lifetime.

Khanyile was mobbed by his fellow students on Steve Biko Road as he returned to his core support base at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Wednesday.

"Yes, yes, yes," were his first chants to a fanatical group of about 150 students and EFF supporters.

The group had gathered early and waited for two hours for Khanyile to speak to them.

Khanyile, who was arrested on September 26, 2016, spent nearly five months in police custody - a period exceeding that of any other student in the country arrested during Fees Must Fall protests in 2016.

The EFF took his matter to the Constitutional Court, where the 26-year-old was granted R250 bail on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Andy Bester said Khanyile was given bail on the condition that he does not intimidate DUT staff or obstruct police or any personnel.

'I love you'

Speaking to students and Fees Must Fall supporters, Khanyile first thanked his supporters at DUT.

"I want to place it on record. I cherish you, I honour you, I admire you, but most of all, I love you," he said to cheers from the crowd.

Khanyile didn't mince his words on his time in prison, saying he found it challenging.

"I was in isolation most of the time. I could not go anywhere or do anything. Letters from supporters from overseas, as well as reading stories of SA struggle heroes, kept me going."

He then, surprisingly, called for the removal of King Mswati of Swaziland.

"They must remove Mswati through a ballot or remove him through the barrel of a gun."

He added: "Here in South Africa, as students of this country we have determined our path. We want free decolonised education, come hell or high water."

'Ready to take action'

Khanyile added that those who had contributed to his incarceration - including security officers, police, magistrates and prosecutors - would one day "find themselves dancing in a dark corner without any music".

Khanyile then called on his supporters to understand that sacrifices would be needed for free education to become a reality.

"I have played my role. But by the looks of things, I don't think it's the last time I'm going to prison."

Khanyile told his supporters that free education had been highlighted in the State of the Nation Address "because of you and I".

"[President] Zuma never used to spend more than five minutes talking about education. It is because we have fought for it that it is happening."

He concluded: "Students of DUT have remained loyal to the struggle. Now that I am free, I am looking forward to finding out their concerns and taking action."

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Read more on:    dut  |  bonginkosi khanyile  |  education  |  university fees

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