Citizen.Speak.Amplify

Nuclear, security, fees and the ties that bind

In 2017 South Africa has faced rising electricity costs, near drought conditions in the Western Cape, a corruption crisis with the state social grant system, rising tensions in the struggle for free tertiary education, and concerns over the progress of a purported R1-trillion nuclear power deal.  In the midst of this, the ruling faction of the African National Congress, in support of President Jacob Zuma, has intensified its propaganda effort by insisting on a vague policy of “radical economic transformation”, described as…

Graduate student unions have a role to play in the battle to decolonise universities

As shrinking higher education budgets leave staff and precarious workers in a bitter battle to hold ground, we must make space for graduate student unions on campus, writes Brian Kamanzi. Debates on the form, function and direction of the process of decolonisation at South African universities, among many other spaces, have renewed impetus since the student-worker uprisings of 2015. Alongside this line of inquiry, the role of university both historically and looking into the future has become a key site of contestation.…

The sun is rising on renewable energy technologies

We find ourselves on the verge, once again, of global shifts such as migration and severe climate change among many other challenges forged as result of industrial development through its pollution of our environment, and its role in displacing and exploiting peoples, particularly the working classes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Brian Kamanzi says any move towards environmental justice needs to be underpinned by a socially conscious education system. World leaders and global industries are struggling…

Kenya’s Save Lamu and deCOALonize campaign powers climate change resistance

Stemming from the latest conflicts around South Africa’s pending nuclear power expansion programme, said to be one of the largest government tenders in post-Apartheid South Africa, welcome news has arrived from Kenya's Save Lamu community-based campaign and the deCOALonize movement opposing the development of a 1 050MW coal-fired plant in Lamu. Lamu is an island archipelago set to the northeast of Mombasa, and is said to be home to one of the original Swahili settlements in the region from as far back as the early 14th…

Lessons on supporting student-worker alliances from French Guiana and Brazil

The South African popular political landscape has become crowded with different interest groups jostling to define what is considered “corrupt” and what the path forward may be. For some, the approach against corruption is steeped in analysis of the particularities of President Jacob Zuma’s activities. For others, the entire system is implicated. But how can we translate dissatisfaction with government into broad-based action, in a movement that transcends narrow sectors, like higher education or workers' unions? Regardless…

Ripples from San Juan: Fighting against austerity and modern-day colonialism

As word of an indefinite strike at the University of Puerto Rico over austerity plans breaks international media headlines, one cannot help but read the Puerto Rican context as something that speaks to the ongoing struggle of their contemporaries in South Africa. Often when transnational dialogues are invoked, the United States is the subject of discussion. Today through the ripples from San Juan we unpack the context under which the fight against austerity and modern-day colonialism takes place at the university as a site…

From the other side of the window – borrowed memory from el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz

Many of the movements during so called #FeesMustFall era did not see demands such as curriculum reforms, living wages or even free education as something being strictly limited to higher education. However, movement fracturing, state repression, the closing down of popular education spaces, and a growing cynicism among students from below have made it increasingly difficult for broad-based coalitions to grow beyond the margins. I think we begin to undermine our own abilities to work with one another when endless fights for…

Icarus and the student movement

“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.” – Oscar Wilde It’s been just over a year since the now infamous Shackville protest at the University of Cape Town. What started out as a public art-centred protest to highlight the then-imminent housing crisis quickly devolved into chaos most viscerally manifested through the burning of artworks from a nearby residence.…

2017: A decisive year for #FeesMustFall

In 2017, the #FeesMustFall uprising is likely to face its most decisive moments yet, with mass protests periodically grinding South African universities across the country to a halt, the rising militarisation of campuses, rising tensions between activist groups, and waning public interest all painting the tapestry of what looks to be a difficult and uncertain year to come. Activist Bonginkosi Khanyile, a student at the Durban University of Technology, has widely been regarded as the only #FeesMustFall activist remaining in…