News

Rhodes participates in national shutdown

On Wednesday 21 October, universities across the country initiated a national shut down. This was done in the hopes of combating the extreme increase of fees planned for 2016. Rhodes University began the #feesmustfall protest on Monday and have continued since. Megan Whittington reports on the day’s events.

This morning, protesters began gathering outside the Rhodes University Drama Department at 5am. As the hours passed, numbers grew in anticipation for the march which had been scheduled for 10am.

Students gather as organisers of the protest address them. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Students gather as organisers of the protest address them. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Many protesters came equipped with signs containing strong messages about the national protest.

Luyanda Mahlinza pictured during the pre-march gathering. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Luyanda Mahlinza pictured during the pre-march gathering. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Muthoni Mundia (left) and Thandi Bombi (right) pictured during the pre-march gathering. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Muthoni Mundia (left) and Thandi Bombi (right) pictured during the pre-march gathering. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

A protester with a powerful message. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

A protester with a powerful message. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Many signs targeted Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Many signs targeted Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before long, numbers estimated to exceed 1000 were present at the scene. Academic staff arrived on the scene dressed in their robes to show solidarity and march along with students, University workers, alumni and local residents

Professor Anthea Garman and Luyanda Mahlinza pictured shortly before the march. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Professor Anthea Garman and Luyanda Mahlinza pictured shortly before the march. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The march was delayed due to separate protests occurring in Grahamstown. While awaiting approval, lecturers and white protesters were asked to move to the front of the crowd to act as a shield.

Protesters sing and clap while waiting for the march to get the go ahead. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Protesters sing and clap while waiting for the march to get the go ahead. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

The front of the protest while waiting to march. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

The front of the protest while waiting to march. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Protesters sing while waiting to march through town. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Protesters sing while waiting to march through town. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The march commenced and police officials drove ahead to ensure safety on the roads. The march went down New Street before heading up Milner Street, into Constitution Street and returning to campus via African Street. Many residents of Grahamstown came our of their places of work to watch marches pass and shout their solidarity for the cause.

Protesters head towards Milner Street. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

Protesters head towards Milner Street. Pic credit: Megan Whittington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protest leaders met with management this evening to discuss the memorandum issued during the national shut down. Management commended students for today’s protest, labeling it as the only peaceful march to have occurred. Protesters; however, seemed unhappy with management’s response with regard to the issue of fees. Much emphasis was placed on the affect that the 6% hike will have on University budgets thus making.

This evening, students received a text message instructing them that academics will continue on campus tomorrow. Many protesting students are unhappy with this, especially given the violent forces that fellow protesters at other universities have endured today.

Many students have committed to continue the protest until a more definite solution is provided by both Rhodes management and government. Others have indicated their intention to return to classes tomorrow.

Follow Embizweni on Twitter for more information on today’s events and for more updates on the situation: @embizwenimakana

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