Many years ago in the 1980’s at the University of the Western Cape where I did undergraduate studies, protests were typical. When protests occurred, the vast majority of students continued with studies while a small minority partook in protest action. This truth was always twisted to make it seem as if there was a massive collective action of discontent to instil revolutionary fervour.

While university fees are currently ridiculous, the Minister of Education is correct when stating that it is not a crisis. This is obvious from the video surveying the protestors. For sensationalism, crowds are made to appear more than what they are. Thus when students are quizzed it is the same faces.

The point is that every time something happens in South Africa it does not imply it is a crisis and we should not see it as such as this only encourages the doomsayers.

Years ago as a Muslim student leader I was threatened with violence as I objected to a shebeen planned by the then SRC for the main campus cafeteria. A massive meeting was held in this regard and I publically asked why construct a tavern at a university which catered for poor students.

Some replies included that after a long day, “students need to unwind”. Also when students and lecturers drink together then difference in social status will be altered and a “friendly milieu exists”.

To this day, none of the reasons made any sense. What I did learn was that wisdom comes with age, knowledge and experience. Without these three integrated factors, even degreed people mature into old fools and while youngsters think they know everything, as they grow older, regret is assured.

What is vital is for students to know the value of an actual day’s work. Thus instead of “unwinding” I suggest authorities employ students over weekends and holidays to sweep streets and clean beaches or university property on short term contracts. This will teach students humility and gratitude for the privilege to study and inspire unionized workers to see their future management in the trenches.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress


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