Students command is the EFF’S gift to education
Vanguard protects rights to education
One of the products of the committed struggle waged by the EFF in the landscape of South Africa has been the establishment of its student movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC).
Established in accordance with the resolutions of the first National People’s Assembly of the EFF, the EFFSC was formally launched on June 16 2015 as a movement that would echo the cries and bravery of the 1976 Soweto Uprising generation.
This student vanguard was tasked with the primary duty of mobilising students behind the banner of economic freedom, with a comprehensive understanding that there is no liberation that can be achieved on campuses without liberation in broader society.
It has undoubtedly had a marked effect on the lives of ordinary poor students, who would normally be turned away at the gates of a higher education sector that is defined by capitalist and racist knowledge production and elitism that determines who participates in the tertiary sector on the basis of money.
It is therefore no coincidence that the formation of the EFFSC coincided with one of the most organised, militant and national uprisings on university and TVET college campuses post-1994 in the form of what is popularly known as the Fees Must Fall Movement.
Imbued with a working-class character and the revolutionary defiance that the EFF brought to a liberal body politic in the country, the EFFSC laboured to create an identity that is defined by selfless struggle.
It is from this moment that the EFFSC organised itself around the “Sizofunda Ngenkani” mantra, and has thus far achieved remarkable victories not only for the student populace, but for workers within the higher education sector.
Any organisation, however, must determine its progress and measure its achievements based on the objectives set for itself.
• Mobilising students behind the struggle for economic freedom embodied in the EFF founding manifesto.
• Pursuit of radical higher education transformation with the aim towards free, quality and well-resourced education.
• Championing the interests of students and all workers in institutions of higher learning.
• Building a dynamic relationship between students and community struggles.
• Participating in progressive international campaigns and programmes.
• Promoting academic and research excellence and progress.
• Contributing to intellectual and ideological discourse in a manner that seeks to promote the struggle for economic freedom.
It is from these clear-cut objectives that we will measure the victories of the student wing of the economic emancipation movement. The first notable victory and contribution to the academic sector is how in efforts to shift academia from its capitalist and racist underpinnings, the EFFSC challenged what is taught, who teaches, how knowledge is taught and its purpose in institutions of higher learning. This can be seen in case studies such as the University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch at the level of challenging a language policy that sought to entrench “volkdom” by having public institutions of higher learning that taught fields in the Afrikaans language.
The call for Afrikaans Must Fall gained prominence, culminating in the abandoning of the language as a primary medium of instruction.
Rallying calls such as this, accompanied by demands to diversify representation of lecturers and senior professors, inclusion of black intellectual scholarship and developmental and purpose-driven research that speaks to the realities of our society, are an invaluable contribution by the EFFSC to a broader discourse.
May the EFF live long and may the EFF Students Command continue being a spear in the hands of the vulnerable. Happy anniversary, EFF!
The EFFSC holds the following seven nonnegotiable principles as a guide to its revolutionary struggle: