"The new Student Movement in South Africa: From #RhodesMustFall to #FeesMustFall"

Student Movement Upload your #links, # Stories, #Documents, #Pictures, #Videos via South African History online

The new Student Movement in South Africa: From #RhodesMustFall to #FeesMustFall” is a research and archiving project that seeks to document, describe, critically analyse and interpret the diversity of Fallist campaigns which emerged in South Africa starting with #RhodesMustFall in March 2015 and extended with #FeesMustFall, #EndOutsourcing, #RUReferencelist and other campaigns into 2016 and beyond. To realise the project, the HSRC works with South African History Online (SAHO) to establish a public online archive on the student movement, and with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) on the history of the student leadership, amongst others.

The key focus in the project is on the student movement per se and involved activists, seeking to uncover actor-relative perspectives on the conditions of action and student agency as part of the material to allow for a critical analysis and interpretation of the overall role, character and significance of the largest new student movement in democratic South Africa. The research methodology employs innovative action research elements that give (current and former) student activists the opportunity to individually and collectively reflect on the movement in a safe space and create potentially emancipatory, transformative experiences for them.

HSRC research contacts: Prof Thierry Luescher and Mr Nkululeko Makhubu. Research outputs of the project are available here.

The conceptualisation of the project takes as its starting point twelve preliminary propositions towards understanding the diversity of #MustFall campaigns in the movement. These twelve propositions have been grouped into five major themes.

Table 1: Themes and Propositions


Theme emphasis

Related Propositions

Theme 1

Understanding the emergence of the student movement

Proposition 1a: Contextualising the emergence of a new student movement in 2015: SA Higher Education in crisis?

Proposition 1b: The international context: a global student revolt against neo-liberalism and postcoloniality in higher education?

Theme 2

The ‘decolonial moment’: #RMF and ‘derivatives’

Proposition 2: A pedagogical process

Proposition 10: Decolonising the university, whiteness, and the curriculum

Theme 3

The ‘intersectional moment’: From #RMF to #FMF

Propositions 3: The need for a differentiated view and representative set of case studies

Proposition 4: From the ideological to the material dimension of Black pain

Theme 4

Protest actions, reactions, and timelines

Proposition 5: A process of HE policy-making; a governance process

Proposition 6: An increasingly violent process

Proposition 7: An Internet-age networked student movement

Proposition 8: A new kind of student activism in the South African context

Proposition 9: An aesthetic process

Theme 5

Projecting the movement into the future

Proposition 11: Projecting the future of South African higher education

Proposition 12: A democratisation process