Fees Must Fall activists and leaders from KwaZulu-Natal told the Daily Vox how they plan on voting; and why it’s important to participate in general elections despite difficulties faced by students in higher learning environments.
Chuma Wakeni (25) student, Durban
As someone who was part of the fallist movement I will be voting. I will be voting because what we fought for was that generally the oppression that the people of South Africa and the continent are facing must fall. Which is, the economic exploitation, the colonial inheritance, and all other forms which stems from racism, sexism and all must fall. So, we are voting precisely because we believe that voting has the power to change all that we are crying foul of, and it is the only means that we can voice out our grievances.
Mbali Zondo (26) student, Durban
I have seen the light and the light that I’ve seen for the first time in my life is a different one. I’ll be voting for the third time in my life but this is the first time I feel like I’m owning my vote. In the past couple of years it has been under the banner and the sense of loyalty, and belonging. We have grown under an umbrella of society that only teaches the youth to belong to a certain political formation, to such an extent that because of that toxic education, we do not understand what we hold as the youth. If we do understand what we hold as the youth, the power that we have with our vote, we won’t still believe that someone is entitled to how we vote. The fallist movement was one of the movements that actually helped some of us embark on a different journey because not even our parents or elders were part of that decision. After gaining that spirit and that sense of ownership, and being part of a movement where we fought against issues that our parents either failed or were defeated, we took the weapon and continued. It was during that time that most of us, especially me, took courage to say that I own my vote and I’ll be doing anything I want in a way that I want to.
Bonginkosi Khanyile (24) graduate, Durban
By virtue of voting it means I’ll be exercising my democratic right of choosing my own government. Everyone, every young person must go and vote because not voting means you’re taking away your right to choose your own government. But beyond that, even if you choose not to vote, some people will vote and speak on your behalf. Every vote counts and all the youth ought to go and vote. With Fees Must Fall and our participation there were many victims, many were academically excluded and many were arrested, this is why we should vote and voice out our demands as young people. When you vote you do so because you want to put the party you think can achieve your desires into power. It doesn’t matter how you were dealt with during the fees must fall, you still need to vote.
Khanyile sits at home with a criminal record, after the Durban Magistrate Court found him guilty on four charges and sentenced to three years house arrest for his role in Fees Must Fall incidents. www.thedailyvox.co.za/amp/fees-must-falls-bonginkosi-khanyile-vows-to-continue-fighting-after-sentencing-lizeka-maduna/
Nolizo Ciya (28) intern, Durban
I’m looking forward to voting, in fact I’m looking forward to that whole experience of standing in the queue. I am going to vote not only because it’s a constitutional obligation but it’s the only way in which everyone or anyone participate. It’s also very important in honouring those people that died before 1994 for what they did for us. If I don’t vote it would be like I’m undermining their sacrifices. The least I can do is vote intelligently and honestly, so I’m not going to rebel against the right of voting.
Thobani Zikalala (27) student, Durban
It is about time that we make a different vote and send the people who carry the agenda that we have fought for as the fallists movement, the decolonial agenda. I think it’s important for young black people to vote because if we need the status quo to change, it means we must vote for those who are intending to serve and have the policies and so called manifestos that speak to the agenda of trying to change the status quo.