JOHANNESBURG (AP) —South African protesters lob rocks at security guards at one of the continent’s leading universities. Police fire rubber bullets at students on another campus. Vice-chancellors warn that students might not be able to finish the academic year if a national dispute over financing higher education is not resolved soon.
Twenty-two years after the end of White minority rule, grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa’s most prominent universities, which are struggling to cover costs. Opinion has splintered among students, faculty, parents and the government, which acknowledges funding shortfalls but accuses a radical minority of bringing campuses to a standstill.
One target of protesters’ condemnation is Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, also known as Wits. Habib, in turn, has suggested it is ironic that Wits, whose student population is mostly Black, could unravel because of protesters who say they are committed to “decolonization.”
He tweeted: “The tragedy of our moment.”