We in Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia want to express our solidarity and sympathy with students protesting at Wits, University of Johannesburg and other universities fee exclusions, accommodation issues, water shortages and other such issues.
We are intensely familiar with the pain of exclusion by unfeeling institutions beyond our individual control and by a non-inclusive society which constantly judges our worth by arbitrary characteristics such as how much money we have, where we were born, the colour of our skin and our presumed gender. In an unequal society like ours, one’s ability to pay fees is as much an accident of birth as the place you were born, and it is equally arbitrary to exclude people on either basis; we therefore fully understand the students’ frustration and anger.
We note that international students experience the same problems these same problems, with the added burden of having deal with visas, papers and an increasingly obstructionist Home Affairs department.
We also note that this is another clear example that South Africa’s problems are not caused by international migration but by the authorities’ failure to properly plan for and fund the needs of its own ‘citizens’, who are mostly excluded and marginalized from the from the fruits of democracy just as much as immigrants, as the legacies of colonialism and apartheid continue to divide and exclude us along race, class, gendered and national lines thirty years after their formal end.
To the students, we stand in solidarity with your struggle for inclusivity.
Contact: Claire Ceruti (Wits) 0823329874; Terri Maggot (UJ) +27 71 097 8160
This press statement was released by Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia on 03 March 2023.