Editorials 17.2.2016 09:00 am

Students need roofs over heads

Rhodes Must Fall members and students gather around protest point,

Rhodes Must Fall members and students gather around protest point, "Shackville". Image supplied: ANA

The ironic visual juxtaposition of the haves and have-nots is hard to escape.

It is one of those discordant counterpoints that pockmark the often violent ebb and flow of modern South African society that the corrugated iron shack erected by protesting University of Cape Town students has as a backdrop some of the more grandiose architecture on the seat of learning’s upper campus.

The ironic visual juxtaposition of the haves and have-nots is hard to escape and, indeed, it is the very business of putting a roof over their heads which is one of the primary drivers behind the student shack attack.

This represents an extremely important rider to the #FeesMustFall movement, which began by almost spontaneous combustion, raging like a fire across the sensibilities of the student population; a conflagration that truly rocked the government.

But as important as being accepted by an institute of tertiary learning undoubtedly is, a place to sleep and to study is an equally significant requirement.

At present, only 25% of UCT’s 27 000 students are accommodated in residences, leaving the bulk of them to find their own housing.

While it would be impossible for UCT to solve this problem at a stroke, they must surely sit down and work with the disenfranchised students.

To do otherwise would invite chaos.

 

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