#FeesMustFall and the decolonised university in South Africa: tensions and opportunities in a globalising world

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Colonialism’s legacy in South Africa includes persistent economic inequality which, since the country’s universities charge fees, bars many from higher education, perpetuating the marginalisation of those previously disadvantaged by the apartheid regime. In 2015-6, country-wide unrest raged across university campuses, as students protested the yearly cycle of tuition increases under the slogan #FeesMustFall, demanding “free, decolonised education”. Protests ended in December 2017 when the government announced a sliding-scale payment policy alleviating the economic burden for poorer students. This paper sets the #FMF movement and its twin demands within the context of decoloniality, and argues that while free education has been achieved, imagining and implementing decolonised education for South Africa in an increasingly globalised world is a more challenging, elusive goal.
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First archival date: 2019-03-29
Latest version: 2 (2019-04-23)
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