When the South African universities were founded, they were primarily meant for white upper- and middle-class men. Today, 25 years after Nelson Mandela became the country’s first black president, inequality is still far from erased in South Africa’s educational system. And when in October 2015 a 10,5 percent increase of tuition fees was announced at Witwatersrand (Wits) University in Johannesburg, something that would mostly hurt black students, protests erupted.
The movie Everything Must Fall, directed by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Rehad Desai gives an unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement. It burst into the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education and morphed into the most militant national revolt since 1994. To date, there have been unprecedented numbers involved, three deaths and 800 arrests. The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist. When Habib’s efforts to contain the protest fail, he brings 1000 police on to campus.
There are dire consequences for the young leaders: Mcebo Dlamini is arrested and charged with serious offences, Shaeera Kalla is shot 13 times with rubber-coated bullets; others, fearing the involvement of the state security agencies, are forced into hiding. Although the movement could celebrate some victories – for example when president Zuma announced that the increase in fees for 2017 would be 0 per cent – its legacy is still not completed. In the words of Shaeera Kalla, former WITS SRC President and leader of the movement: ‘Students will ultimately take this where it needs to be. I have faith that we will achieve our demand for free, decolonized education. But not without a fight.’
In this special masterclass held at the Movies that Matter Festival 2019 we will first watch the movie Everything Must Fall. Afterwards you’ll have the chance to meet the activists! Together with Shaeera Kalla, Rehad Desai and Deliwe Mzobe we will discuss topics covered in the movie such as equality, discrimination, civil disobedience and the right to protest. How far will you go as a student to defend your rights?
Entrance is free, but registration is required!