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Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest

Literacy is explained as the capacity to read and write. Modern literacy is classified as reading the world more as compared to reading the word. Continuous reading of the world enables a person to learn the world and even have that knowledge at their fingertips. Every information someone reads and writes gives access to new information that can be used to solve challenges. Literacy is composed of several elements that include reading, writing, language, listening, and speaking. Literacy has greatly transformed from reading and writing through artifacts to writing using a pen and book. In the year 2015, South Africa experienced a student-led protest. Students were advocating for non-increment of tuition fees as well as seeking government increase in university and college funding.

The sense of sight someone has is called seeing, which can also be described as a vision. Through seeing, a person can establish his place in the surrounding environment. Literacy is the ability to read and write the world; it is argued from the story of free must fall that students used different methods to pass the information. They used placards written with different messages, Posters were hung in different streets, and they carried along with Banners while demonstrating across the streets.

The other most influential method used by the students was social media with messages accompanied with the hashtag #FeeMustFall. Most people see things as mainly influenced by the knowledge they have and what they believe in. The student had adequate information about the fee increment issue, as announced by the Higher Education Loans Board Minister. The increment was 8 %, and each University would determine the percentage increase of their fees (Musawenkosi, 2017). Students were totally against the move, and therefore they decided to move to the streets to protest against the motion.

The protests happened mainly in three universities, and it was facilitated by Facebook messages on social media university pages that went viral. Students made roads inaccessible by placement of stones, garbage and dustbins. Issues escalated, and responsible administration called on the police force to stop the rioting students. Police managed to arrest over 25 rioting students who were taken into police custody. Since students had vowed to stop the fee increment process, over 1000 students gathered outside the police cells chanting slogans to help release their comrades (Behar, 2020). As some students spent most of their time chanting for the release of comrades, other students inside the school campus blocked the main entrances and even chased away students who tried to access the campus.

Students went ahead and refused to sit for their examination papers until their grievances were heard and adhered to by the University Management. During the protests, the different kinds of players involved were the students, Police and School administration, and the Government responsible for the fee increment; In contrast, the School administration was responsible for effecting the changes. Students were against the changes prompted them to start a protest. Due to the destruction of property and unrest among the students, Police were called upon to restore law and order (Cini, 2019). The demonstration takes place in the universities surrounding as well as the school compound.

One of the main advantages of reading is that it helps to improve concentration, and at the same time, it acts as a stress reliever. Through reading, people can successfully pay attention to the task at hand. It helps people get acquainted with the latest information and also improves the memory of the reader. The students were against the fee increment by the Government, and at the same time, students wanted the same Government to increase its funding. It is also noted that protests resulted in several effects, including students being shot at with rubber bullets. Student leaders were arrested and tortured by the Police to get them to end the protests. Most of the buildings were burnt and scorched (Ejoke, 2019). Many vehicles were destroyed as a result of road blocking.

The protest attracted the attention of the President at the time, Jacob Zuma. He formed a commission of inquiry responsible for developing a report on whether free tertiary education was affordable (Ndlovu, 2017). Students conducted a feasibility study that realized a lot of money was lost through corruption. They recommended that the Government can sustain free tertiary education at the expense of eradicating corruption. Police employed brutal ways in attempting to end the protests. They captured student leaders and tortured them for days, but they did not succeed. The actions by the Police were seen as a move to weaken the student’s movement as they acted outside the governing laws and acts (Kamga, 2019). They denied all the claims and instead claimed that Police acted within the jurisdiction of laws while handling the protests.

Structure Evaluation Proposition is another type of reading; it involves understanding the structure, analyzing the proposals, and evaluating the merits of the arguments. In #F-eeMustFall the system is understood and the reasons why the students protested. As protests escalated, the President was forced to form a commission of inquiry into the matter. Despite the commission coming up with a proposal after conducting research, the President went against the recommendation and declared a 0% increase on the tertiary institution fee. The move was against the 6% proposal increment that was aimed at helping Universities survive.

The move helped to end the student’s protest but several recommendations were followed due to most of the time wasted and the destruction that happened (Mavunga, 2019). People can conclude that the increment was to benefit individual groups in the Government since most Universities have stayed since then.

Detailed reading helps a person understand each text to develop a general meaning and a deep understanding. With careful reading, it is clear that the protests across all the campuses took along. The students were not ready to bow to the increasing violence and force by the Police officers. Violence escalated when the Police tried to use force to stop the rioting students. The President was prepared to resolve the issue despite the adverse effects that would follow. It can also be concluded that Police did not manage to instill fear among the rioting students (Scheepers, 2019). Any move or announcement that went against their grievances prompted them to go back to the streets.

Stories can be told in many different ways, one being narrated through a short story. The form of a short story aims at delivering a summary of the whole story in a few sentences. It might only be able to highlight the nature of the story and the reason it happened. The report can also be told in the form of a movie to portray most of the happenings. It will involve the casting of characters and production (Kgatle, 2018). The film can be sold through online platforms or given to specific human rights bodies to advance and further the agenda.

Seeing the falls was able to come to know the fee increment either by watching Television or reading the news on the social media pages. The information spread quickly to other Universities that joined the protests. Police were called upon to restore calmness, but their actions resulted in a more violent protest (Ndlovu 2019). Their plan to torture and abduct student leaders did not go well with most students as they became more violent, especially when they saw messages of the victims on the social media platforms.

Through detailed reading, one can understand all the happening during the protests and try to formulate solutions to the arguments in the paper. Skimming type of reading helps a person highlight the main points of the story: why the students began the protests and the reasons for them being against the increment of school fees (Naicker, 2016). Reasons for also urging the Government to increase the students’ funds should be well outlined.

In conclusion, South Africa is a third-world country; if it increases the cost of education, fewer people will get an opportunity to access education. Creating a better and affordable education will attract youths who will generate more employment opportunities hence contributing to the general income of the company. The Government should provide an adequate response system or committee that will develop better ways of addressing the education challenges to avoid such happenings in the future. Students should also come up with better ways of solving their issues instead of going to the streets and interrupting other people’s activities. Street protests by the students have resulted in the destruction of property and injuries to many. Better solutions will restore hope and embrace university education which will raise better leaders for a better tomorrow. Government institutions should conduct research before initiating any changes.


Behar, Ruth. 2020. “Read More, Write Less.” In Writing Anthropology, Duke University Press, 45–53.

Cini, Lorenzo. 2019 “Disrupting the Neoliberal University in South Africa: The #FeesMustFall Movement in.” Current Sociology. La Sociologie Contemporaine 67, no. 7 : 942–959.

Ejoke, Enwereji, and Chukwuere. 2019“An Analysis of the #FeesMustFall Agenda and Its Implications for the Survival of Education in South Africa: The NWU Mafikeng Campus Writing Centre Experience.” Research in World Economy 10, no. 3 : 65.

Kamga, Emmanuel Kamdem.2019 “The #FeesMustFall Protest: When the Camp(u)s Becomes the Matrix of a State of Emergency.” Acta Academica 51, no. 1: 89–109.

Kgatle, Mookgo S. 2018 “The Role of the Church in the #FeesMustFall Movement in South Africa: Practical Theological Reflection.HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 74, no. 1. Web.

Mavunga, George. 2019 “#FeesMustFall Protests in South Africa: A Critical Realist Analysis of Selected Newspaper Articles.Journal of Student Affairs in Africa 7, no. 1. Web.

Naicker, Camalita. 2016 “From Marikana to #feesmustfall: The Praxis of Popular Politics in South Africa.” Urbanisation 1, no. 1 : 53–61.

Ndlovu, Hlengiwe. 2017 “Womxn’s Bodies Reclaiming the Picket Line: The ‘Nude’ Protest during #FeesMustFall.” Agenda (Durban, South Africa) 31, no. 3–4 : 68–77.

Ndlovu, Musawenkosi 2019 “The View of South African Youth before #FeesMustFall.” In #FeesMustFall and Youth Mobilisation in South Africa, 19–36.

Scheepers, Detken. 2019 “Student Perspectives of Online/Blended Learning as Academic Continuity Solution during #feesmustfall Campus Disruptions.” In INTED2019 Proceedings. IATED.

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"Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest." StudyKraken, 16 Sept. 2022,

1. StudyKraken. "Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest." September 16, 2022.


StudyKraken. "Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest." September 16, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest." September 16, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Telling the #FeesMustFall Protest'. 16 September.

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