There were two movements today at Wits University, white students formed a small peaceful march calling for the resumption of classes, and they were verbally attacked by black FeesMustFall protestors who deemed the peaceful march as a “mock to the poorer”.
The FeesMustFall protestors had shut the University down, and a newly formed movement, according to its leader Pervania Pillay, said it was formed yesterday. The newly formed movement marched peacefully from the Wits Science Stadium to the Great Hall. Pillay said the marched was formed because they want classes to resume.
“Our movement is [seen] as disrespectful because we don’t want to do things their way. It shouldn’t be that way, my motto in life is that there are many ways to skin a cat. We want to stress to the University that it is serious we need to carry on with the academics, as final year students that is our main concern,” said Pillay as she was explaining to the Open Journal why the movement was started.
As they moved to the Great Hall, there they faced intense opposition and resistance from the FeesMustFall protestors which mainly consists of black students. It triggered anger to the fees protestors, and Pillay’s movement was forced to retreat back to the Wits Science Stadium.
“Let us talk about land first. This protest is racist on its basis,” one student shouted to the newly formed movement.
The fees protestors were angered because they perceived the newly formed movement as a movement that is meant to mock their struggles and, yesterday the police shot teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to the FeesMustFall protestors for “defying the court rule” which prohibits any gatherings within the institution.
“Where were they yesterday when we were being shot? They were standing over there encouraging the police and the private securities to shoot us, to kill us, and they are saying they are not against free education,” said Machebe Mixo.
One student from the newly formed movement said: “They are pushing us around, swearing at us, intimidating us, and we are not allowed to voice out our opinions.”
Mtwakazi Bula, one of the FeesMustFall protestors said, “Everyone has been called to engage. There is a meeting sit in right now as we speak. How is this going to be useful, it is just going to cause an unnecessary standoff…”
On their way back to the Wits Science Stadium, an Al Jazeera cameraman with Tania Page, an Al Jazeera Correspondent, were disturbed by FeesMustFall protestors to conduct an interview with one student who was among the white peaceful marchers.
Thereof, the FeesMustFall protestors went to the Wits Science where the upcoming President of the SRC, Kefenste Mkhari addressed the students. He stated that they are fighting for free education for everyone, and even for those who reside where technology and internet connectivity is still a challenge.
From thereto, Mkhari led to students to the Solomon House where they would have a sit in meeting where journalists wouldn’t be allowed to attend the meeting.