Several dozen protesters, some carrying sticks, proceeded from building to building on UCT’s upper campus on Friday, entering them, setting off fire alarms and telling students and staff to leave. This is a scene that students and staff, just evicted from their places of work, said happens repeatedly.
Reporters and a Christian group of peace and justice monitors follow the protesters. It has become a daily matinee.
There were dozens of private security guards visible, and police as well. But they did not intervene or attempt to block protesters from entering buildings. A few key buildings are protected, but the protesters avoided them.
A staff member in the economics department said that a meeting to discuss fees and the fiscus was disrupted.
I walked around campus and saw several “clandestine” efforts by students and staff to get on with their work. I saw laboratories, where students, mostly black, were studying for upcoming exams.
At one point while following the protesters, I was told to stop taking photographs. I refused. An altercation ensued. A protester threatened to break my phone. (Not all the protesters participated in this altercation and I have found some protesters to be friendly to the media.) After disrupting activities in a building after this incident, the protest appeared to have stopped for the day.
The end (in sight ) is the collapse of higher education in South Africa, as the term is universally understood.
The naiveté of those who continue to believe that the student insurrection is about anything but their leaders' deep narcissism and brutal anarchism, is stunning.
I would have thought that the proverbial penny had long since dropped, but, sadly and obviously, it hasn't.
And so, South Africa (not just its universities) continues on its pitiful path of self-immolation.
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