Stellenbosch University students were min gespin when students from other universities brought the #FeesMustFall protest to their campus on Wednesday.
About 100 students from different varsities including UCT, UWC and CPUT travelled to Stellenbosch, but failed to disturb students writing their exams.
The aim of yesterday’s protest was to shut down Maties, but private security and police gave them no opportunity to do that.
There were no reports of violence or arrests.
The students who gathered at the Du Toit train station in the dorpie first marched through Kayamandi informal settlement, going door-to-door to call on mense to join in the protest.
Students carried placards reading: “Free education now or we will send a signal to the waterfront” and another reading: “Free education or die”.
The students’ march headed off at Bird Street, but they soon found their way to the campus where they chanted struggle songs.
They then marched to the Opvoedkunde building where students were writing examinations in the hopes of disrupting the tests.
“We will not allow anyone to write exams. We will storm these buildings. We are going to shut down Stellenbosch,” a student leader told the crowd.
Police and private security, all dressed in riot gear, quickly shattered protesters’ hopes of causing disruptions.
One student leader then pleaded with police to let them in, saying police were protecting a building belonging to “white colonists”.
“We as black children have had enough. We want free decolonised education. Nobody is going to study until there is free education. We are going to shut Stellenbosch down. We know you [police] are doing your jobs, but why are you protecting a building belonging to white colonists?” the student said.
The group left campus late yesterday and the exams went ahead without disruption.
University spokesperson Martin Viljoen confirmed there were no disruptions.
“The Management of Stellenbosch University is still committed to completing the academic year. This is in the light of the Stellenbosch Campus experiencing protest action today,” he said.
“Disruptions took place this afternoon, but the University’s contingency plans and security measures will remain in place for the duration of the exams.”