I will be sentenced next year but I have no regrets


I keep asking myself: As young people, are we doing what needs to be done the way it should be done? Is our vigour and dynamism channelled in the right direction? If so, what is hindering us from reaching our desired situation? That is, a life in which we are free from unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, malnutrition and economic oppression.

I am reflecting on all this while also aware that in January I will appear in the Durban magistrate’s court. On that day it will not be what has become one of my “typical” appearances over the past three years. Instead, it will be a day of sentencing. A day I shall be punished by the state for my participation in the struggle for free decolonised education. A struggle I believe remains a noble one. A struggle I believe was long overdue. And a struggle I believe we had no other choice but to pursue, one we had to pursue with everything we had.

For advancing a course that is as noble as the one of free decolonised education we are tried, sentenced to jail, suffocated and subjected to humiliating processes. The question that comes to mind is: What has this done to our generation? Are there intentions to silence the youth or to instil a degree of fear and perhaps tame the youth from advancing their generational mission?

In the face of every difficulty, young people must not lose their focus and determination. We must know that we only have ourselves to rely on. If we are to defeat oppression we must be willing to suffer and sacrifice for our ideas. Young people have a responsibility to form a unity of purpose and continue to fight. We must ensure that we struggle for common goals and objectives in relation to our generation’s mission. We must be a youth that is upright. We must be a youth that is incorruptible. We must be a youth that is not materialistically driven. We must be a youth that is selfless, honest and driven by a great feeling of love for one another. If we possess such basics in our ranks our mission will be achieved sooner than anyone anticipated.

READ MORE: Student leader Bonginkosi Khanyile aces studies while in jail

The continued incarceration of #FeesMustFall activists should not demoralise young people — and it will not. It should serve as their source of strength. It should make them rebel against the status quo. The mistreatment of the youth should give them a reason to fight. No jail time should derail us from attaining the society we envisage. No court cases, intimidation and humiliation should make us fear and doubt our path to victory. They can arrest us, brutalise us and suppress us but we know that the end will be glorious.

In January, I will be standing before the magistrate and receiving my sentence, clear that from now on anxiety is no more and stress has gone. I will take the sentence with my mind, body and soul intact. I make no retreat from our demands, the demands we are prosecuted for, so we reiterate that education must be free in terms of its content and in terms of its monetary value. Our curriculum must be decolonised. We want a people’s education for people’s power. We further say young people must, from grade RR, study for free until their first qualification in an institution of higher learning of their choice. No sentence, jail time or imprisonment will ever make me retreat from this call.

I call upon all young people to organise and continue to struggle and fight the good fight. Whatever happens to me next year should never make us doubt that we are on the good side of history. We must maintain our upright posture with our chests out, heads held high, our bodies filled with the adrenaline of the inevitable people’s victory and our unwavering commitment to a course.

READ MORE: Students demand presidential pardon for #FeesMustFall charges

Bonginkosi Khanyile is a #FeesMustFall activist who was found guilty on charges of public violence, possession of a dangerous weapon and failing to comply with police instruction.

Khanyile’s sentencing was postponed to January next year.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories