What began as a set of demonstrations protesting a proposed increase in fees for colleges and universities has turned into a movement across South Africa, calling for more access to education for all students and putting the government on defense.
The protests began at the University of the Witwatersrand — or Wits — in opposition to a proposed increase in student fees of 10.5% next year. Then it spread to Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town, the nation's other two largest schools.
The issue, student leaders say, is higher education is currently available for only the children of the wealthy and is out of reach for the majority of South Africa's black population.
Zikisa Maqubela, the head of Rhodes University's Student Representative Council, told eNCA: "Students are protesting about the minimum initial payment, which means students are required to pay 50% of the fees. This means if students live in [residence], they will be required to pay up to [45,000 South African rand]."
In American dollars, that's about $3,354.20. While that may not sound like a lot, a recent study from the South African Institute of Race Relations estimates that only about 5% of South Africans can comfortably afford college for their children.