Exclusive interview with UP Fees Must Fall movement representative


With UP’s campuses having been shut down for over a month by the UP Fees Must Fall movement, many have had questions about who the leaders are, what the movement actually hopes to achieve and if their call for “free, quality, decolonised education” is actually viable. Perdeby spoke to UP Fees Must Fall representative and former SRC President Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba about the movement, and the role it plays in the protest action.


Who is UP Fees Must Fall and who do you represent?
We need to understand that UP Fees Must Fall does not exist in a vacuum, but we are part of a broader national movement which is calling for free higher education, or free decolonised education, I think from early childhood all the way to tertiary education. We’d like to believe that we represent the voices that are unable to speak for themselves, the many students that have not been able to make it to university. We speak to the poor child who [can’t] afford his fees at the university; we speak to the child that has been excluded from the university, but we don’t believe that we hold timeless truth, but we do believe that the cause we’re fighting is a just one. Our fight also includes other societal struggles.

Exclusive interview with Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Cheryl de la Rey

The University of Pretoria has come under fire in recent weeks for a lack of engagement. Perdeby spoke to UP’s Vice-Chancellor and Prinicipal Prof. Cheryl de la Rey about the university’s views on the protests, the implications for the university and the way forward.


What are the university’s views on free, quality, decolonised education?
Let me start off with the last part of that. The issue of the decolonisation of the curriculum came up earlier in the year and you will recall that a number of issues around transformation were raised. Out of that process we developed the work-stream model and there is one on the transformation of the curriculum which Prof. [Norma] Duncan [Vice-Principal: Academics] has been leading. There have been several meetings and already I know [that] Humanities, they have a transformation committee, they’ve been looking at it. So that’s not a new issue at UP; it’s part of the process.

UP hosts International Literature Conference

On 5-7 October, UP hosted the International African Literature Conference in association with Tydskrif vir Letterkunde and the Southern Modernities Conference. The conference was focused on the imaginings, modernities and visions within African and Diaspora African Literature.

The event was welcomed on behalf of the editor-in-chief of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Prof. Hein Willemse from the Department of Afrikaans and Prof. Vasu Reddy, the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. Prof. Willemse called the event “a celebration of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde”. He acknowledged and thanked the sponsors and the event’s organising committee and assistants for persevering in keeping the event on amid current student protests and UP’s shutdown. Prof. Reddy further stressed the importance of the event, saying, “The conference will be directed at getting to know people, issues and ideas directed at the critical reflection of African writers and their journeys, and how they imagine the African Diaspora.”

Tuks Camerata takes home bronze at Varsity Sing finale

On Thursday 13 October UP’s Tuks Camerata was awarded third place in the Varsity Sing reality TV show that was broadcasted live on KykNet. Stellenbosch University (SU) choir took first place followed by University of Johannesburg (UJ) choir in second place.

Tuks Camerata was one of 12 university choirs from across the country that participated in the Varsity Sing series. The panel of judges consisted of Loyiso Bala, Christo Burger, Marvin Kernelle and this week’s guest judge, Coenie de Villiers.

All points gathered over the knockout rounds of the series no longer came into play and the choirs were judged based on their performance on the night of the finale. The judges paid special attention to musicality, technical proficiency, sound and tone quality, and overall impression. SU was also awarded the FNB fan favourite award, in which members of the public voted for their favourite choir using the Varsity Sports app, adding an additional R50 000 to their winnings.

Fees Must Fall crisis sweeps across SA universities

Since the announcement made by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, about fee increases for 2017, institutions of higher learning have been engulfed by student protests against possible fee hikes and the overall demand for “free decolonised education”. A declaration of Higher Education and Training summit took place on 3 October which was held to tackle the crisis. Stakeholders of the summit included the South African Union of Students (SAUS), faith-based organisations, workers’ unions, vice-chancellors and parents. The summit noted the need for long-term solutions to student funding but most importantly the need for an immediate resumption of academic programmes at all universities.

On 19 September Dr Nzimande made the announcement that higher institutions of learning would be able to increase fees up to 8% for the 2017 academic year. Students with a family income below R600 000 per annum would then be exempt from any increments.


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