21st Feb 2017 at 3:26 pm #18463
What would appear as the missing role/voice not represented in the complex “Fees Must Fall” protests? I am not any wiser to give a ‘correct’ answer myself if any exists but simply am curious.
I am curious about the the voice of the ‘black’ child who struggles who is represented by the astute knowing white student.Does this child speak for themself or someone speaks for them and if they spoke would the same issues they would raise align with those already on the table(if there is a table at all)?
Would their lecturer defend them or lambast them for being lazy or that opens a can of worms of how they were not opened their eyes to ways of university life. Who is to blame then for not opening their eyes on their journey from grade eight to grade 12 or simply life should have done for them? Would it be their teacher then or their own curiosity or should it have been their parent?
Now that we are here entering varsity where to next? These are just some questions I wish I could have had a conversation with if I was facilitating a group of university students yet when I had an opportunity to have such a conversation with one black female student it appeared the conversation is BIG. She spoke about being not interested participating in the protests but curious enough to want to see where the conversation was going. Fair enough I said. But is that not being lazy, you know that mos that black people are labelled lazy for sitting back and simply watching, then she pointed out that we could end up on the racism protests instead if we took that approach yet there were real issues to tackle here that the ‘Fees Must Fall’ campaign if one calls it that have battled on behalf of the funding of the black child.
Who would instill the enterprising or entrepreneurial mend-set to a black child in the not so well resourced school so that when they come to varsity they are ready to run a business of some sort or learn how to fund themselves on those small things that major funding does not cover yet what they come with is this fulfillment of having overcome enormous odds to reach entry into varsity only to find their effort was only good enough but not enough to embark on the sprint to start the ordeal of lectures and assignments administered by unsympathetic lecturers or perhaps overwhelmed lecturers.
So how do yourself manage or have you managed it till third year you said, Oh me, I learned early how to ask questions, I ask for what I need but most of my peers really don’t……Let”s talk some more and we parted but before we finally did walk away from each other…Oh by the way could you come and hold such type of discussions with us on campus because amongst ourselves we simply don’t manage to hold such cumbersome debates………I feel scared to facilitate such I said and yet would really love to because I am a facilitator in training for transformational dialogues.
So my reason for writing is to ask the question that If it was you chatting casually with a student today …..what would you talk about regarding the threat of yet another season potentially earmarked for another ‘Fees Must Fall’ protest or am I imposing my curiosity on something non-existent when this year it is going to be a peaceful university experience for educators and educated?
Thank you for reading this far.
21st Feb 2017 at 7:51 pm #18467
These are interesting questions that you raise Lawrence given the complexity of the #Feesmustfall protests, for example, in terms of the role players, their identities and the outcomes expected from the protests. I must, however, hasten to say the average black child in a South African university has greater agency than most of us are willing to acknowledge. From a participation viewpoint, for example, the face of the protests was black. I did not find this surprising given the socio-economic backgrounds from which most black students come which make it necessary for them to demand free education. The majority of students spoke, and continue to speak, for themselves. There are, however, as emerged from your conversation with the student, differences in perceptions of the best way to ‘speak’ to power as represented by university authorities and the government. While some students see violent protests as the only way in which they can be heard, others believe dialogue is the best way forward. Whether because, or in spite, of their biographies, I therefore still maintain that the majority of students have voice as a result of which they are able to articulate their challenges without the assistance of their counterparts from other racial groups or that of other stakeholders such as academics, political and civic leaders. One almost gets the feeling that the enormity of some of the challenges which confront the black child is such that his or her voice cannot be suppressed. It is still interesting, however, to find out who speaks for the few who remain silent and what factors account for the differences in the preferred methods of ‘speaking’ amongst those who choose to ‘speak.’
22nd Feb 2017 at 6:19 am #18466
Thank you George. I really like your sentence “…the majority of students have voice as a result of which they are able to articulate their challenges without the assistance of their counterparts from other racial groups or that of other stakeholders such as academics, political and civic leaders.”
Please don’t underestimate university students. They have gotten so far for a reason and it was not because of charity or luck.
22nd Feb 2017 at 10:05 am #18465
Thank you George for this response. It provokes in me more courage to ‘look’ at the issues than withdraw, blame, accuse or get-rid of and be with what is appearing in front of me. Notable in your response for me is the notion of majority of students ‘speaking’ and my real interest in writing and engaging is in the last statement that you make “ It is still interesting, however, to find out who speaks for the few who remain silent and what factors account for the differences in the preferred methods of ‘speaking’ amongst those who choose to ‘speak.'”, this for me personally is profound in my training regarding identifying the silent, mooted, quashed voiced so as to champion it into the main dialogue in line with the principles of “deep democracy”. That the pressure is so huge to result in students to speak is also very a very important ‘voice’ . I appreciate your contribution
22nd Feb 2017 at 10:12 am #18464
Thank you Claudia, and in particular for the second last sentence. I completely agree with the need to consider the place for them to voice, fight and challenge our views of the status quo as they shape ours and their future. However for me also the interest is identifying what else or whoelse is not part who could strengthen the participation of that which touches on the heart of the consciousness of our idea of who we are that the protests have ignited in some respect.Obviously it is not limited to individuals per se but stakeholder-role players in what ever form or non form.
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