Free education, free speech and responsibility.

Is Free Higher Education Possible in South Africa Panel Discussion                                                         Chaired by Judge Dennis Davis

‘Who is in the room?’ Activist Lindsay Maasdorp would ask this of the audience several times throughout his opening address. With a judge and a university vice chancellor on the panel and a R40 barrier of entry into the discussion space, Maasdorp was criticising the exclusivity and reaffirmation of privilege in spaces such as Think!Fest. Neither Maasdorp nor anyone else in the room could have anticipated that this issue would manifest itself dramatically in response to his original question; ‘Who is in the room?’

The full audio, as well as comments from the panellists can be found below.

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The difficulty of dealing with gender-based violence

How do you unsettle, unlearn and undo gender based violence? Many conversations have been had and hopefully, will continue to be had about the subject. It’s often easy to walk away feeling dizzy and hopeless at the realisation of how multifaceted the subject is and wondering where to begin in order to move forward. Panelists Catriona Mcleod, Gorata Chengeta, Lisa Vetten, Nadine Joseph and Nonhle Skosana discussed why sexual violence continues to be such a difficult subject to tackle.

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Conversations on Whiteness

One of the loudest and most consistent requests from black South Africans has been for white people to take on the emotionally difficult work of educating other white South Africans about racism and whiteness

Today, a room of predominantly affluent white South Africans attempted to take this challenge seriously in the What Should White People People be Doing, Thinking, Feeling and Saying Now? panel discussion. While the process was undertaken on a small scale, in a private space and with no imperative to achieve more than conversation, it was a sincere acknowledgement of the fact that ours is a racialised society and that we as white South Africans are also implicated in this.

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Student voices dominate hashtag protest discussion

Bringing together people from different backgrounds to discuss the student protests and hashtag movements is never easy. Yet students are taking the lead, and taking to task problematic responses in the process.

“I can tell you now, the people in #ZumaMustFall were dololo in #FeesMustFall, and the people of #RUreferencelist are far too often dololo in LGBTQ issues. Whose voice is now going to be worthy of being listened to?” – KhanyisileMboya

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After disruption, we need conversation

Controversial media creates controversial and often differing responses. We’ve seen this with the media coverage of the South African student protests during the past year. Following a public screening of DISRUPT, two reporters share their perspectives on the documentary about the rape culture at the University currently known as Rhodes (UCKAR).

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