BOOK REVIEW: As By Fire
Author Jonathan Jansen provides an insider’s empathic and critical view of the campus crises at universities in SA, writes David Reiersgord
AS BY FIREJonathan JansenTafelberg The university in SA is, and has been since before the end of apartheid, entangled in several social, political and economic issues reflecting some of the broader challenges facing the country. When democracy entered its second decade, the rightly and wrongly labelled born-free generation entered institutions of higher learning and these became contested environments where students demanded the realisation of the promises embodied by their liberation from apartheid. When the statue of Cecil Rhodes was removed from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in March 2015, a conversation about the symbolic significance of SA’s histories of colonialism and apartheid echoing at universities in the democratic present began. The conversation morphed into a national wave of activism and protests focused on the issue of annual fee increases. And in 2016, the momentum spilled over into activism and protests, many of which became violent through fire and aggression a...