Every­one should sup­port the stu­dent protests

CityPress - - Voices -

When 24-year-old Nathi Dwayi was ac­cepted to study law at the Nel­son Man­dela Metropoli­tan Univer­sity (NMMU), he knew what he wanted to do with his ed­u­ca­tion – con­trib­ute to the fight for so­cial jus­tice.

Be­ing at NMMU pre­sented him with the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop his lead­er­ship skills while tak­ing up that fight. He has al­ways wanted to get in­volved in projects that would em­power cit­i­zens over a long pe­riod.

“I have al­ways had an ap­petite to be in­volved in com­mu­nity is­sues and to lead so­cial ac­tivism,” ex­plained Dwayi. “Un­for­tu­nately, most com­mu­nity projects are just there to ap­pease the con­sciences of those who don’t want to feel guilty about their priv­i­lege.”

The most no­table recog­ni­tion of his lead­er­ship qual­i­ties came when he was elected na­tional pres­i­dent of the Black Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion Stu­dent Chapter. He’s also a for­mer law fac­ulty rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Stu­dents’ Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil and a pre­vi­ous chair­per­son of the Black Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion NMMU Stu­dent Chapter.

Dwayi is about to start a Mas­ter of Laws (LLM) de­gree at NMMU. He also read for his un­der­grad­u­ate and Bach­e­lor of Laws de­grees at that in­sti­tu­tion.

Dur­ing his ma­tric­u­la­tion year Dwayi ap­plied to Rhodes Univer­sity, Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, Univer­sity of Cape Town and NMMU. Like many high school pupils in small towns, he wanted to move to the big­ger cities. But it was not to be.

“NMMU is the only univer­sity that ended up tak­ing me be­cause of what I pre­sented my­self to be, be it ma­tric re­sults or other­wise,” he said. “In ret­ro­spect, I have no NMMU were dead­locked last year, some par­ents took the univer­sity to court to force it to get an in­ter­dict against pro­test­ers in or­der for teach­ing and learn­ing to con­tinue.

“They [par­ents] must ques­tion them­selves why they are di­vided on this mat­ter, why white par­ents and black par­ents are di­vided in terms of their po­si­tion in #FeesMustFall,” said Dwayi. “It is be­cause of the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion of this coun­try that poverty has a black face and pros­per­ity has a white face.”

Though a le­gal scholar him­self, Dwayi does not be­lieve bring­ing the po­lice to cam­pus is a so­lu­tion to stu­dent protest. He be­lieves that po­lice pres­ence es­ca­lates vi­o­lence.

“We are say­ing to par­ents that the court ap­proach is not as­sist­ing be­cause it seeks to in­ter­vene in a vi­o­lent man­ner, be­cause once an in­ter­dict is granted it means that no protest can hap­pen and it cre­ates av­enues for po­lice to be on cam­pus,” he said. “In­stead of wast­ing re­sources by pay­ing le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives to go to court, in­vest that money to­wards a call for free ed­u­ca­tion.”

It is Dwayi’s hope that the #FeesMustFall protest will even­tu­ally unite the coun­try into a com­mon strug­gle and pave the way for col­lec­tively tack­ling other so­ci­etal is­sues for the bet­ter­ment of South Africa.

TALK TO US Do you agree with Dwayi that a po­lice pres­ence on cam­pus serves to es­ca­late vi­o­lence?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word CAM­PUS and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

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