#AlexTotalShutdown: “The Strike Is Killing Us As Grade 12 Learners”

Jaconia Moloutsi (19) stands in his neighbourhood in the Alexandra township. Picture by Shaazia Ebrahim


The doors of Jaconia Moloutsi’s (19) school have been shut for the second week now. Alexandra township, where Moloutsi has lived with his father for most of his life, is currently seized by protests. Residents of Alexandra township are calling for better service delivery, housing, and development in their community under the banner of #AlexTotalShutdown. Moloutsi spoke to The Daily Vox about life in Alexandra.

In Alexandra, there’s a vibe. If you feel like going out during the night, you can go out. But the problem is, there are too many criminals here. It’s not that safe unless you have a weapon or if you are well known by people around. That’s how we live here. You have to have a back up, if you don’t have back up, hayi you’re screwed. But there’s no peace of mind.

As you can see now, the tavern owner is playing his music. He only switches off his music at around 11pm or 12am. That’s the time I use to study, then I sleep at 3am and I wake up again at 5am to go to school. That’s how it is.

Moloutsi’s home where he lives with his father. Picture by Shaazia Ebrahim.

After school I am going to get into politics. I’ll study political science, if not political science then law, if not law then maybe I’ll go into the media. I believe in the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) because they uncover the truth of the other politicians who thought no one would say anything about them. It’s not that I like Julius Malema, I just like the work he’s doing. I don’t vote for the African National Congress (ANC) because the ANC has too much corruption and is full of old people. They don’t give the youth a chance to be in Parliament. ANC always says they will change South Africa, but I think I will change South Africa.

There is a lot I will change in Alexandra. You’ll find each house there are five or six people living in a one-room. There is a lot of space, a lot of land in Gauteng. I will try just to provide some RDPs for them. Even now we do have RDPs but they are illegally [designated]. You can buy the key for R20 000. Then it’s yours. That’s how it is here.

I would also provide employment. People who live here pay rent, and rent in Alexandra is too expensive, they pay about R1 900 for one-bedroom. It doesn’t even have a bathroom. People don’t have jobs. On each and every corner you’ll find someone selling tomatoes or eggs…  Sometimes even many people sell the same one thing. I will also create jobs for old people, so that they don’t rely on Sassa money. Sassa money is peanuts. Rent is expensive, food… Who will buy the food? No one.

I’m not sure if I’ll go back to school tomorrow. If there is no strike then I will. The strike is killing us as Grade 12 learners. It’s killing us because in May, I’m writing exams. How will I write my exam like this, when there’s a shutdown? They said nobody should go to school and no one should go to work. I don’t disagree with people about the strike. They can do the shutdown but they should think about the learners first because the learners are the future of tomorrow.

Yes, we can study on our own but there are some things we won’t understand. Our parents did Bantu education, they don’t know about these things of chemical bonds. When you tell them of ethanol, they say ‘what’s that?’ They should think about the learners. The June exams are the ones we need to pass so they won’t marginalise us. That’s not what we want for the learners of South Africa, we want change.