The youth are fighting the same struggles they were 40 years ago but simply at a tertiary level, anti-apartheid activist Seth Mazibuko told students at the NMMU Gold Fields South building on Wednesday.
He paid homage to struggle icon Steve Biko, saying that it was only through Biko’s vision of “liberation of the mind” that students could truly advance the struggle against current issues such as the #FeesMustFall campaign.
Mazibuko was hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (Canrad) in collaboration with Ezingcanjini African Heritage.
His talk centred on the struggle of the 1976 youth, the role played by black consciousness and Biko being a central figure at the time.
“Liberation of the mind is what propelled us to go out as the ’76 generation into the street and fight. For the students to liberate their minds and conquer the decolonisation of education today, they need that Biko touch,” he said.
“Fees must fall can’t be a student struggle – it is a community issue, because these students come from those communities.”
He said while the youth had the ability to implement permanent change, students had become preoccupied with the colour of their T-shirts and the agenda of the political parties they represented.
“Politics is also killing the liberation – you have to be wearing a blue, a yellow, or a red to be listened to. We need to come out with one voice.
“In 1976 we were all wearing school uniforms when we fought, there weren’t different T-shirts.
“When you start representing different parties you have to include those manifestos in education.
“That’s why these students minds need to be liberated to adopt the Biko approach and avoid us still being in this position another 40 years on.”