Opinion

Let Me Free or Lock Me Up: I’ll Make No Deal With The State

Bonginkosi Khanyile

It was Amílcar Cabral who correctly suggested to us that at all times we must expose lies whenever put before us. Nothing is worth hiding from the masses of our people. At no point should we seek to mask difficulties and failures. We dare not claim easy victories.

Those who go around claiming to have given us fee free higher education on a silver platter should be exposed for who they really are. 2019 is the elections year. Politicians are unleashed to every village, township and in all corners of South Africa. Theirs is to sell us dreams and further claim easy victories in relation to struggles of the people.

 

Such is the case with the government’s declaration of fee free higher education. It took the state to harass, brutalize, imprison, assault and do all manner of traumatic things to young people of our country in order for government to declare fee free higher education. After everything we had to go through as young people, fee free higher education was just another lie presented to us.

 

The #FeesMustFall case I am faced with has been unnecessarily dragging for the past three years. However on 28 January 2019 the Magistrate at the Durban Regional Court is due to give a sentence. It was on Tuesday 27 September 2016 when I was targeted and isolated from a crowd of more than a thousand students protesting. I was first shot by police forces on my right arm, assaulted on the neck and then taken to the Berea police station. Upon my arrival one police officer noticed that I was heavily bleeding, arrangements were made and I was taken to the nearest hospital before proceeding with pressing charges.

My situation has been a microcosm of what many students were subjected to. There are a number of untold stories of pain and suffering accumulated during the course of our struggle. Fellow students were suspended and others expelled from their respective universities while others got criminal records. Currently we have a student, Khanya Cekeshe, who is serving a five year sentence for involvement in #FeesMustFall protest yet free education continues to be a dream.

What we can draw from all this is that as a generation we are on our own. We are openly rejected by the ruling elites. The former liberators have become our oppressors. The tactics that were used on them by the apartheid regime are the same tactics they have employed on us. In the midst of such misery ours is to soldier on.

We must become our own liberators. The time to organize is now. We ought to intensify our mobilization and further agitate for the true realization of free higher education now. No student must be financially excluded this year. No prison, no police force, no intimidation, no propaganda must deter us. Just like Solomon Mahlangu, Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Lilian Ngoyi and all other fallen heroes and heroines we must uprightly pursue our struggle. We will win.

On Monday as they will be passing their sentence, I shall make no deal with the state. They have two options: To let me go as a free man or to lock me up. Half freedom is no freedom at all. The ideas we stand for as a generation are so pure and noble that they do not deserve to be compromised. Free education now!

 

*** Bonginkosi Khanyile is a convicted #FeesMustFall activist awaiting sentence & a UKZN Master’s Degree student.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Vernac News

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