Nick Frost pic

Picture made by Nick Frost and used without all of his permission, yet.

i only have a few minutes to write this before i have to go out to do a talk [which has been much affected by this week’s events] so this will not be as meaty as it could be, but i wanted to get something out.

The last few days have been kindova blur – i have written and shared and experienced much and only been able to post a fraction of it – if you’re on the Facebook then a lot of extra articles and shares got posted on my blog page over here.

On this blog i managed to get four posts out, which are still worth a read if you missed any of them:

[1] The first post was a link to some helpful thoughts and articles from a bigger perspective view on #FeesMustFall called Through a Number of Different Eyes and Mouths.

[2] The second post was some more articles but then a number of stories from people who had experienced the first couple of days of activism called More Thoughts and First-Hand experiences.

[3] The third post was written after myself and tbV and some friends went and got involved in the march and protest that took place at UCT on Thursday and a bit of a blow by blow commentary live until my phone died – Live from the Ground.

[4] Lastly this bonus piece was written as one of the biggest [and in many case saddest or most painful] learnings from this week – the response of family and friends who don’t get it called How To Spot Your Friends. i could be wrong and biased on this [because i did get a bit real and fighty with a number of people this week] but it felt like many people who didn’t understand or agree with what was happening or the need for it, seemed to get really defensive and then personal in their responses, moving from just critiquing an issue to making comment on the people who did get it or were trying to understand. As i said, those people might say the same about me and others but for the most part i think we held up and issue well and only put the gloves on in response to fierce attacks or shtupidity from people we expected more from. i definitely lost respect for people this week, but fortunately most of it was people on the periphery or edges of my life as opposed to genuine friends.

At the same time there was also some really amazing and incredible engagement with some people who didn’t agree or get it but were trying to understand and some who changed their minds halfway through and this is why we continue to fight or try and explain for what feels like the hundredth time. Because there are people wrestling with this stuff genuinely and they are worth fighting to educate and enrich.

Thank you to good friends like Bruce Collins for I’ll Probably Lose Friends over This which concluded with these truthful words:

Ultimately, white people need to stop being afraid of difference and afraid of change. We have to develop larger ears and more maleable hearts. We have to press into uncomfortable spaces and push beyond our contentment. We have to teach our children to be better at this than we are.

Stop hearing what you’ve been indoctrinated to assume and listen to what people are really saying.

Susan Hayden for ‘South Africa needs a PK’ and my very wide open personal education that PK does not, in this case, stand for Preacher’s Kid, and in which she challenged some of the white privileged responses we had all been seeing over and over again this week such as this one:

“I work 50 hours a week and I study overseas. It is possible, but nobody wants to see it.”
Damn these students for having every opportunity to succeed but still being annoying and asking for more! I have a plan for middle class South Africans across the colour bar. Instead of taking a gap year and waitering in London, the government – like they do with medical graduates – must send you to the township for 12 months. There you must live in a shack, do a menial job, wash your clothes by hand, use a public toilet and survive with no external help for the duration of your time there. If you have to fetch your own water, so much the better. It’s the only way we will ever understand the difference between rich and poor lives; the only way the privileged few are ever going to ‘get it’. It’s dangerous? Correct. Public transport is unreliable? Shame. You have a toothache but can’t afford the dentist? Crying for you. It seems, without this experience, the privileged continue to have no conception of their privilege or the blissful ignorance in which they live their lives. Since it’s unlikely this will ever happen, I’m going to have to settle for your klap.

And Alexa Matthews for inviting her white 69 year old mom to share her thoughts in A Mother’s Take on #FeesMustFall:

I keep on thinking of this.   I am a wife, mother, 69 yrs old and WHITE. How does this affect me?  I hear the anger, see the hurt, the desperateness and yet I have HOPE.

I am and have been privileged and blessed.   My parents “battled”, money was in short supply, but  I am a qualified nurse who did not have to pay for my training.   My brothers all have degrees.   My children finished their degrees of choice, without any debt.

What right do I have to even comment?  How can I understand what many parents and students are going through, universities closed and exams not being written?  It is not right and understand the concern, but every week I sit with people, whose cry “please pray for work for me”,   My children need to go to school.  My child needs to be educated, I cant afford to send him

Urgh, i have to go… so i will add to this when i can [although busy weekend] but let me just say this:

# i don’t believe anything major was won yesterday but i do think it was a really great start – the students got the 0% they were campaigning for but the fees didn’t fall as much as they were frozen — the exams were pushed back a week at UCT at least so the action didn’t cost those learners too much [hopefully]

# we got to see the youth of SA [who i believe are the majority group or will be in a few years] suggesting that they won’t be voting ANC “Just Because” any more – that they will hold leaders accountable and we got to see glimpses of some of the future leaders of this country many of us would vote for with pride – many black and many women which was amazing.

# this is a significant moment in history and we CANNOT afford to be on the wrong side of it again – it was super encouraging to see a whole church staff joining us on Thursday but i would love to see more of the church being led by their leaders out on the streets hearing stories and being part of creating them

# Those who acted peacefully and cleaned up and rallied again violence both physical and verbal were far outnumbering those who caused mischief and were sadly what the mainstream media mostly depicted – the official media in this country can not be trusted and the Twitterer seemed to be the place to go for the most reliable news but the crowds were for peace and honesty and that was SO GREAT to watch.

The future feels like it is in good hands – there is a long way to go but great start everyone.

Picture via @AndrewSoglo off the Twitterer

Picture via @AndrewSoglo off the Twitterer

Now go study, you’ve got exams to get to!

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