The tens of thousands of university students across the country who came together over the past two weeks for a united cause have taught the world three important lessons about having a successful protest, an academic says.
According to University of KwaZulu-Natal Professor Patrick Bond, those three lessons are: make alliances, expand your geographical vision, and choose national targets.
Bond, who is also a director at the Centre for Civil Society at the university, said these three innovations by the students had made their protests successful and could work in any protest movement.
He said the #FeesMustFall movement had been deeply inspiring and a historical moment in South Africa’s history.
“This is a sort of world historic moment that I think we’re in, the defeat of apartheid in the early 90s, the defeat of the Aids medicines access in the early 2000s and now coming into 2015, this extraordinary show of force where tens of thousands of students can make their voice heard in these different cities and in this quite co-ordinated way.”
What looked like an internal protest between students and the respective institutions quickly became a force to be reckoned with when students decided to move into public spaces.
“When one looked at the protest at Wits you could assume, based on past patterns, that that’s where the protests would stop. They would stop at the university gate. But then they started saying, no let’s go to Empire Road, let’s take it to Jan Smuts Avenue, let’s take