2015 was a tumultuous year for the higher education sector in South Africa. Transformation moved to the heart of the national discourse through two sets of events: the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements. Collectively, these became the largest student social movements since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy in 1994.
It shook up the state, changed the systematic parameters, and began the process of fundamentally transforming our higher education sector.
2016 will be a tumultuous year for Barbados as a higher knowledge of self and respectability will be brought into National focus with the #nelsonmustfall movement. It is clear that Barbados has much to address in the area of racial balance and European hierarchy.
The #RhodesMustFall movement like the now #nelsonmustfall emanated from two major challenges facing higher educated (conscious) young minds: alienation and access.
In our schools little can be seen of the great history and heritage of Africa. No images or recognition of her freedom fighters, great cities, Kings and Queens or great ancient civilizations. In these and many other ways we continue to be alienated from ourselves as African people and as a result, accessing our information becomes a bit challenging.
The #RhodesMustFall movement, in which students at the University of Cape Town demanded removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, captured the alienation of the largely black student population at the university and reflected valid concerns about institutional racism and-or the slow pace of transformation at universities post-apartheid.
#nelsonmustfall is a transformation movement that represents the largely black - Barbadian youth population who are systematically marginalized in many ways by institutionalised European privilege.
As mentioned previously in our school from kindergarten to university little is shown that speaks to our history, heritage and culture pre- slavery. In addition to this, we are taught even less than we are shown about ourselves. The religious foundations of public schools are biased and should reflect the various spiritual systems of the students. Much can be done with our schools to ensure that students leave those institutions not only possessing the skills to create their own forms of business but with a much needed sense of self and community responsibility.
#nelsonmustfall also focuses on institutionalised religious supremacy. While we do not advocate the burning of the European founded christian church we are stating that the history of the church should be taught in schools and that religious knowledge should be a basic introduction into various faith based organisations. This movement also says that a greater recognition and respect should be payed to non European faith based organisations and their rights honored.
The disparity in the treatment of white Barbadians to black Barbadians by the local police force is undeniably unmistakable. The average Barbadian will quickly recall the time a white man shot his son and just left the island, went for treatment and came back without spending a day in jail. All this while the case was fresh and now being investigated. Could a black Barbadian do that? We all saw the powerlessness of the police force when the white community came together to form a search party for an alleged missing white woman . Would it even be conceivable for a grouping of black people to go through white communities in the interest of looking for a missing person. The police would never have allowed that. There are many racial issues in our legal system that #nelsonmustfall will bring to light.
We as black Barbadians need not to be kept on a long leash. Our situation in our society today is comparable to a captured free animal. You trap a free animal and put it in a zoo as an attraction to make money. Then after some time you take that animal out the cage and put it on a large expanse of land called a reservation. At first this change may feel liberating for the animal but as time goes by and it walks and explores, it sees it is still fenced in. Still not free and still making money as an attraction in a bigger way. The black Barbadian is that free animal captured long ago. Our youth will not be deceived by the false illusions of liberation in this time. We have questions, we want answers. We have demands and we want change.
We call on our ancestor General Bussa to lead us in battle against an oppressive systems that still after 200 years enslaves us and still denies us our right place in this society.
In this the decade for recognition of African people let us rise and be recognised. Let Nelson and his racist philosophies which supported European (British) hierarchy, come crashing down.
It is said when the people are ready the leaders will follow. Let us get ourselves ready people.
If you are interested to know more abut the #nelsonmustfall youth movement please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will soon be publishing a document of support for this movement which you will be asked to endorse.
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