Who asked you to fund my freedom?

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By Tanya Magaisa

This article can also be found in the print Edition 2 of VARSITY Newspaper.


I write this opinion piece with grave concern. In my studies, I have always been led to believe that unreasonable censorship, irrational conduct, abuse of safe spaces and misuse of the buzzword “positionality” are a real risk to academic freedom, freedom of expression and organic, legitimate dialectic.

I have always found comfort in the fact that freedom of expression is a constitutionally protected right in this, our “democratic” South Africa. As a Law student, I find great comfort in the power of legality. As an aspiring Philosopher, I am critical of its very existence.

These threats to freedom of expression are insignificant when one is fighting against money and since all our sh*t is in Europe, it’s quite clear who has the money. Decolonial education is not a threat to freedom of expression but when the Western thieves are scared, they use money as a weapon to maintain their status quo or to steal people’s land *cough-Israel-cough*.

The West is not so much afraid of decolonial education as they are afraid that Bob Marley’s lyrics may become a reality; that we may “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery”. Free, decolonial education, be it socialist, communist or “liberal” has become the South African student’s Redemption Song.

Imperialists know and understand the power of an unshackled black mind. From the Civil Rights Movement to Umkhonto we Sizwe. Thus, the West will not fund the freedom of a black populace.

#FMF protests. Image by Sipho Mpongo.

The question is whether decolonial education is a sustainable reality in an arena that is still primarily funded and dominated by western culture? The answer is a resolute no. The point of decolonised education is to prevent this kind of dependence on the West. The dependence of black minds on Western funds. That is the prison rebuilt.

Rather than asking whether decolonised education (that which is African) can submit, assimilate and navigate an oppressive system which has no desire to see a free black person, we need to find a sustainable system that will make us economically independent and equal in the international arena.

We cannot still be asking the West to accept us for who we are. It has refused. No #FeesMustFall compatriot protested for dependency.

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