The sound of gunshots ringing out in the streets of Joburg.
Protesting students screaming as they flee from armed police.
Several are injured, one is reported dead.
It sounds like the Soweto Uprising of 16 June 1976. It isn't.
These were the scenes that played out on Wednesday, 10 March 2021.
Only this time it wasn't apartheid cops doing the firing, it was SAPS.
The struggle wasn't against Afrikaans as a language of instruction, but for tuition fees.
Rubber bullets were used, not live ammunition – and the dead victim was a 35-year-old male bystander who had just walked out of a clinic.
Wits University students have shut down the campus after about 6 000 students were financially excluded due to historical debt.
The students say the university does not understand their financial hardships, which have been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The students are calling for the financial exclusion cap to be increased to R150 000, but the university says it can only assist those with a debt of up to R120 000.
The students’ funding crisis comes at a time when the National Students Financial Aid Agency Scheme (NSFAS) has run out of money.
The agency has used its budget of R35 billion to pay for the 2020 extended year – brought on by the pandemic.
Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande said that there was a delay in first-year funding applications due to the financial shortfall.
Nzimande was set to meet with the rest of the Cabinet to find a solution to the crisis, which could spread to universities around the country.
People, this is a mess of epic proportions.
The two key answers to our country's problems are: education and employment.
But education comes first. And that's the very thing at stake here.
Blade and his fellow ministers simply have to come up with a way to divert more funding towards financial aid for students.
Because we need those students in class. We can’t afford to have more young people joining the ranks of the 7.2 million unemployed.
Learning, upskilling and graduating is only half the job done, though.
Once you have your diploma, opportunities are limited and there is no guarantee of finding employment.
The economy has shrunk during the pandemic, business has suffered, many have shut, meaning fewer jobs in the market.
Here government needs a radical rethink and shift the focus to small business as a means to revive the economy.
Sorry to say it, but us South Africans just aren't entrepreneurial.
While foreigners come to this land of opportunity and open up shops all around us, we expect jobs to be created for us by government and the private sector.
We need to develop a culture of business.
And government can help by introducing practical business subjects at high school level already.
The reality is many youngsters are not by the means to go to university or college after matric.
So how about offering basic business courses which can teach you how to: register a company; get clearance from SARS and do your own taxes; open a business bank account; draft a business plan; apply for funding; hire people and adhere to correct labour practices; do marketing and branding for a business.
Simple courses like these don't have to cost hundreds of thousands of rands over four years.
They offer hope for the future, and can change the lives of many families.