This week’s seminar will be presented by Nomzamo Portia Ntombela, Marketing Manager at the Academic Affairs Council of Stellenbosch University, and Vanessa Mpatlanyane, Guest Lecturer and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University, titled:
‘Politics of Representation & Power: The Individual vs. The Collective’
In 2015 student protests around the country drew (inter)national attention to the crisis within higher education in South Africa. In the first quarter of the year, the RhodesMustFall movement at the University of Cape Town, Open Stellenbosch at Stellenbosch University, Tuks-UP rising at the University of Pretoria and later that year FeesMustFall(#FMF), became flagship collectives in this regard. Although the specifics of the issues raised by each of the movements varied, collectively the movements pointed to the faults in higher education, particularly those affecting black students with regards to access, space and institutional culture . While the issues raised by these movements were indeed pressing and crucial, it cannot be neglected that these movements emerged in spaces that already had institutionalised and elected student representative structures mainly in the form of the Student Representative Council (SRC). How then can we make sense of the emergence of these collectives outside of the SRC?
This paper attempts to grapple with this question by looking at the issue of student representation in the context of higher education, taking into account the geopolitics of this representation within a national movement like #FMF. Moreover, it engages the discussion further by drawing attention to the promises and realities of the struggle for representation and voice in structures as experienced by student activists, both as individuals and as a collective, within the context of a “disillusioned democracy”.
Date: Thursday 1st November
Time: 1pm – 2pm (Questions and answers until about 2.30pm)
Venue: Room 401
Address: 4th floor of the Arts and Social Sciences Building, on the corner of Merriman Avenue & Ryneveld Street.