Sunday 25 September 2016

Archbishop appeals to South African student protesters

The schools, libraries and other institutions which have been burned in recent protests are those which have transformed the lives of South Africans and their leaders in the past, says Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape.

Archbishop Makgoba said this in an appeal to the higher education community, including students, in which he appealed for the Fees Commission to be given space to do its work.

The full text of his appeal follows:

I am deeply pained by the instability at Higher Education institutions across the country. 

Our universities, colleges and schools are important heritage sites for our communities. They preserve the history and the knowledge and the deeds of the leaders of yesterday, and serve in the education and growth of the leaders of tomorrow.  

It is this dream for the future leaders of this great country that we must protect. The burning of schools, libraries, and institutions of higher learning sets us back from progressing as a nation. It is in these schools, libraries and institutions where people's lives have been transformed.

We should not forget the role played by some of these institutions during apartheid to contribute to the freedom we enjoy today. These institutions have not only moulded current leaders and those before us, but have transformed the lives of children and families who come from the dusty streets of rural Limpopo or those who come from Langa, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg and other townships and rural areas around the country.  

Let us give a space to the Fees Commission to do its work, and await its recommendations with regard to the feasibility of free education for the poor. Let us give the Ministry of Higher Education and Treasury a space to implement their new plans to assist the “missing middle” by introducing a new funding model for 2017. 
We must protect our students’ right to learn in a conducive and enabling environment. As we need to respect students’ right to peacefully protest we must also respect students’ right to peacefully continue the academic programme without interruptions and intimidation. 
Parents, take responsibility, our children come from homes, families, and communities.

I acknowledge that success in most struggles has always been in the hands of the young. 
With so much inequality and poverty in this country, let us refrain from deepening the divide through destructive actions. Violence and destructive action will not bring about the desired solutions. 
I am praying for our children at all the universities, that our convictions may prove to be greater than the challenges that confront us today. 
You have the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourselves. When one day you reflect on this time, may the story you tell be one that fills you with pride. May it be a story that like the stories your parents told you of their fight for your right to equal education, makes future generations appreciate the opportunities we have that they never had. May your legacy not be one that destroys centres of learning, leaving nothing for posterity.

1 comment:

  1. I am sharing this. They are not only destroying themselves but everyone else as well.


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