© Daylin Paul

Meet the activists at the Movies that Matter festival

Meet the activists at the Movies that Matter festival

When in October 2015 a 10,5 per cent increase of tuition fees was announced at Witwatersrand (Wits) University in Johannesburg South Africa, protests erupted and morphed into the most militant national revolt since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The documentary ‘Everything must fall’ from Emmy-award winning film maker Rehad Desai shows a vivid reconstruction of these protests. During the Movies that Matter festival. You’ll have the chance to watch this documentary for free in a Masterclass and also meet the activists!

As the movement, dubbed #FeesMustFall, spread to campuses across the country, it rapidly grew in scope to tackle not just inequality at universities, but many social issues plaguing South African society. The students were joined by likeminded university staff and by people who worked at universities, such as cleaners and security personnel, whose work contracts were outsourced, costing them salary and health insurance. The protests were met with increasing violence by police and security forces. As can be seen in the documentary Everything Must Fall, Shaeera Kalla was shot in the back by thirteen rubber bullets during a peaceful demonstration in 2016.

‘It was clear that universities saw poor students only as a liability and really did not care about the accessibility and financial burden,’ says Shaeera Kalla, who at the time was president of the Student’s representative council at Wits and helped initiate the protests. ‘Some students had to choose between meals and paying their outstanding fees. This is not a choice anyone should have to make.’

On 26 March we will organise the Masterclass ‘Everything must fall: student protests in South Africa’ in the Hague. It promises to be a special Masterclass! We will first watch the documentary ‘Everything must fall’ and afterwards discuss it with the two activists and the director.

The activists:
Shaeera Kalla
Deliwe Mzobe
Rehad Desai

Entrance is free, but registration is required. Sign up here