Don’t let what happens to me deter you – Fees activist speaks ahead of sentencing

One is seated and giving some reflection on the struggles we continue to face as a generation.

The rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. Youth unemployment in general is on the rise and graduate unemployment, drugs and alcohol abuse by young people has been normalised. Diseases, malnutrition and the forever dwindling economy.

In my mind I keep asking myself, “As young people, are we doing what it is to be done the way it should be done? Is our vigour and dynamism channelled towards the right direction?”

If so, then what seems to be a hindrance between our current situation and the desired one? That is the life where we are free from youth unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, malnutrition and economic oppression.

I am reflecting while subconsciously am equally stacked with the fact that October 16 2018 I shall appear at the Durban Magistrate Court (Regional Court X), and on that day it will not be what has become one of my “typical” appearances over the past three years. Instead it will be a day of sentencing.  A day I shall be punished by the state for my participation in the struggle for free decolonised education.

It is a struggle that I believe shall remain a noble one, a struggle I believe was long overdue, and a struggle I firmly believe we had no other choice but to pursue – and we had to pursue it with everything we had. For advancing a cause that is noble as the one of free decolonised education, we are tried, sentenced to jail, suffocated and subjected to humiliating processes.

The question that comes to mind is: to what end is this done to our generation? Are there intentions of trying to silence the youth, or it is done to instil some degree of fear and perhaps tame the youth from advancing their generational mission?

In every difficulty we continue to face as young people, focus and determination are what we must not lose. We must, without doubt, know that we only have ourselves and no body else. For us to conquest oppression we must be willing to pay the highest price, suffer and sacrifice for our ideas. Young people have a responsibility of forming a unity of purpose and continue to fight.

We must ensure that we struggle for common goals and objectives in relation to our generational mission.  We have a responsibility of being unique from the rest. We must be a youth that is upright. We must be a youth that is incorruptible. We must be a youth that is not materialistically driven. We must be a youth that is selfless, honest and driven by a great feeling of love for one another.

For if we posses such basics in our ranks our generational mission shall be achieved sooner than anyone may anticipate.

One should equally put it on record that the continued incarceration of #FeesMustFall activists should not demoralise young people – and it will not. It should serve as their source of strength. It should make them rebel against the status quo. The mistreatment the youth continues to get from the incumbent government should give them a reason to fight. No jail time should derail us from attaining the society we envisaged. No court cases, intimidation and humiliation should make us fear and doubt our path to victory.

They can arrest us, brutalise us and suppress us but we know that the end shall be glorious.

In a few hours, I shall be standing before the magistrate and receiving my punishment for fighting side-by-side with my peers in demand of free education. I should state it clearly that from now onward anxiety is no more and stress is gone. I shall take the sentence with my mind, body and soul intact. I equally make no retreat from our demand and the demand we are prosecuted for and we reiterate that education must be free in terms of its content and in terms of its monetary value.

“Our curriculum must be decolonised. We want a people’s education for people’s power. We further say young people must, from Grade RR, study for free until their first qualification within the institution of higher learning of their choice. No sentence, jail time or imprisonment will ever make me retreat from this call.

I call upon all young people to organise and continue to struggle and fight the good fight. Whatever happens to me on October 16 2018 should never shake us for we are on the good side of history.  We ought to maintain our upright posture with our chests out, heads held up high, our bodies filled up with the adrenaline of the inevitable people’s victory and our unwavering commitment to a course.

Durban-based Bonginkosi Khanyile is a convicted #FeesMustFall activist. He writes in his personal capacity.

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