Revolutionary at forefront of CPUT revolt
‘Propaganda’ slams education fees
THE MAN accused of inciting the recent violence and vandalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) says he is a revolutionary, and that all he cares about is being an advocate for students and the poor.
Known by his alias Propaganda (his real name is known to Weekend Argus), the 32-year-old, who is a former student of Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha and of CPUT, also said if the CPUT vice chancellor had heeded his warnings, none of the violence would have followed.
“All of this happened because of him ( Dr Prins Nevhutalu), and him interdicting myself and my fellow comrades. Had I been there, none of the vandalism would have happened because we would have been able to calm the students who felt cornered by the police.”
Exams at CPUT were postponed this week to January following the vandalism of an exam venue at the Bellville campus, the latest in a string of incidents.
A total of 43 protesters were arrested in the clashes. They appeared in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court this week and were released on bail.
As Weekend Argus spoke to Propaganda, the interview was interrupted by passing students wanting to talk to him, pointing to the esteem in which he is held on campus.
He is a former mechanical engineering student and electoral committee member of the PAC student body Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma).
“If a struggle involves all students and the fight is a gen- uine one, then I will definitely be part of it. Being poor is a great motivator of many things, including anger, and I refuse to understand why people must be poor and be excluded in things that would actually assist in the upliftment of their situations, in this case education,” he said.
He described tertiary education fees as a “system designed to exclude the poor from uplifting themselves”.
“It is the duty of any revolutionary to revolutionalise against the unjust system,” Propaganda said.
Born and raised in Mthatha, Propaganda said he had worked on construction sites and as a taxi driver for several years to secure the funds to register at Walter Sisulu University. But because he was a walkin student and had not applied for any specific course, he found himself in the mechanical engineering faculty “trying to claw my way out of poverty, through education”.
Of his popularity on the CPUT campus, Propaganda said it was the result of his being able to “relate to the pain felt by students”.
“Students have faith in me. I don’t lead from heaven; I am with them on the ground. I understand what they are going through and speak the same language.”
He also denied any political affiliation, saying he was only interested in and supportive of the “Azanian ideology which happens to have been adopted by Pasma”.
“I can’t join the EFF because then I will be led by coconuts like Julius Malema who claim to be poor but are not, so they can never truly understand the struggle of the poor. And I can’t join the ANC because, well…”
Propaganda said his passion lay with law, and that his dream was to become an advocate so he could fight for the rights of students.
“It is the duty of any revolutionary to lead by example and by ensuring the change that he believes in. I don’t see myself making any significant change in the field of mechanical engineering, so I feel it would be a just cause that I be an advocate for student rights.
“That is my task that I have tasked myself with. I know it may not be easy and not because of challenges that may seek to drive me away from my task, but through certain situations which may arise caused by the task at hand,” he said.
Propaganda is not allowed to enter the CPUT campus thanks to an order secured against him.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE: A student leaves the CPUT administration building on the Bellville campus, which still bears reminders of vandalism and violence that halted exams at the institution. Many windows were smashed by rock-throwing students.
LEADER: Protester ‘Propaganda’, who did not want his name published, says he is not attached to any political party and is acting only in the interest of needy students.