A group of students from the North West University’s Mahikeng campus have taken the initiative of walking from Mahikeng to Johannesburg in honour of fees must fall activists . This as part of the build-up to the main event of the Fees-Must-Fall commemoration expected to be held on Saturday in Braamfontein.
The students are taking a 300 km walk which expected to be taken over the next five days.
This to honour those who fought for free education during the Fees-Must-Fall movement which began in October 2015.
Leader of the Maf to Jozi walk, Bozane Zuma, says many of them are getting criminal records.
“Many of them are having criminal records and some are still under house arrests. So, we are calling on everyone to commemorate this thing because people have suffered. People have put their lives in danger. People have put their academics in danger.”
The students expressed gratitude to Fees-Must-Fall activists.
“I had challenges before Fees Must Fall. I couldn’t register. After the Fees Must Fall, I was able to register. Now I am doing my final year,” says one student.
“My name is Obakwe. I came all the way from Kimberley to join this initiative because it’s for a good cause,” says another.
Nineteen-year-old Obakeng Kusca, a first-year Industrial Psychology student, says with his mother being unemployed and father depending on piece jobs, his dream of furthering his studies may have not been possible had it not been for Fees Must Fall.
“We are studying for free. We are residing for free. We are getting meals for free. So, we just want to appreciate them for their efforts,” says Kusca.
Student leaders at the North West University’s Mahikeng Campus say the Fees-Must-Fall movement benefited many underprivileged students.
The campus SRC Deputy President, Thabang Tlale, says, “This Fees-Must-Fall movement was able to trigger the government to say let’s give these NSFAS students bursaries to be able to assist our students. I can tell you that because of that initiative, as we speak, we are having students who are getting R1 500 monthly. Their fees are paid 100%. Previously, it was not doing that, and it used to be a loan before.”
The students say they expect to arrive in Johannesburg between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.