National 10.9.2016 12:23 pm

Angela Davis lauds Fees Must Fall and female activists

US activist Angela Davis grafitti in the "Abode of Chaos" museum of contemporary art, in Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or, Rhône-Alpes. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

US activist Angela Davis grafitti in the "Abode of Chaos" museum of contemporary art, in Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or, Rhône-Alpes. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

US academic and activist Angela Davis lauded the #FeesMustFall campaign and female activists for their efforts to bring about change in education.

Delivering the 17th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture in Pretoria on Friday – the 39th anniversary of the murder of Black Consciousness leader Stephen Biko – Davis referred to the girls at Pretoria Girls High School who raised the issue of the school’s hair policy.

She encouraged the girls to use the platform they had created and expand it to bring about change at other schools. Not only about hair policy but on also other issue affecting pupils who did not have the media’s attention.

Davis also spoke on the fight for free education under the hashtag #FeesMustFall. She said the demand for free education reminded everyone of the “world we should be inhabiting”.

Young activists “are beginning to address unresolved questions and some of the erasures and foreclosures”, she said. Therefore they needed to be allowed to learn from their own mistakes as the previous generation had done.

Activism was the beginning of self care.

“Intense activism often produces trauma, therefore if we are to be successful we need to engage in practices of self care.”

Yoga had been her way of doing this when she had been in jail. However, for her it was private, as she feared it would be viewed as self-indulgence.

On black consciousness finding its way in schools, Davis said it was necessary to develop mass consciousness to go up “against capitalism”.

“Begin to invite younger people to educate their imagination. I leave it to the younger generation to give the specifics on the trajectories. We can imagine ourselves on a historic continuum,” Davis said.

The lecture was attended by, among others, Biko’s widow Ntsiki Biko, his son Nathi Biko, former president Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel, and former president Thabo Mbeki’s wife Zanele Mbeki.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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