South Africa’s higher education sector has been rocked over the past two years as the Fees Must Fall protests at universities, colleges, and technikons have exposed and emphasised the financial struggles of aspiring graduates. But as the political drama between the state, students, and university managements has entered the fray, attention has been diverted from the core matter at hand – the narrative of everyday people struggling for access to education and the systemic exclusion of which this speaks.
Through this six-part series The Daily Vox hopes to reprioritise these voices.
The Daily Vox interviewed people from across the country who are struggling for higher education funding, some of whom want to use education to change the world.
Saaimah lives in Paarl with her family, and wants to study a Bachelor of Social Science at UCT. Her fees amount to R49, 440, which she can’t afford. She wants to be the first member of her family to get a degree, and to start an NGO in order to change the lives of the children in her community who struggle to fulfil their potential.
Makungu was raised by his grandmother, living off her pension grant and his mother’s income. He is studying Economics at the university currently known as Rhodes, and dreams of using his knowledge of economics to improve aid development and welfare in society. He is facing multiple issues with NSFAS funding, affecting his registration and residence applications.
Thando is in his second year studying Science at Wits, and his mother supports the family with an income of R240, 000 a year. Thando falls into the ‘missing middle’ classification, and is afraid that he won’t receive NSFAS funding as a result. He wants to establish a construction consulting company working on eco-friendly projects and sustainable development.