SGPIA Professor Sean Jacobs and his blog Africa is A Country have proven to be an important voice in the global narrative surrounding the protests of university students that flared last week in South Africa. The protests ignited after an October 13th announcement that the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg would raise tuition fees by as much as 11.5 percent and quickly spread to other universities in the region, shutting down many campuses. South African President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday, October 23 that his government would suspend the tuition hikes, but student protests have endured into this week.
Professor Jacobs explained in interviews last week that the student protests in South Africa reflect a deeper discontent with the country’s government and are unlikely to end with President Zuma’s announcement. “Every time the government responds, (the protesters) will up the ante,” Professor Jacobs told Al Jazeera America. “Zuma’s announcement didn’t say anything about free education or the problem of outsourcing at universities. It also didn’t say anything about police brutality … or some of the student leaders who were arrested — will their cases be dropped?”
Professor Jacobs also told World Politics Review “That the students stormed Parliament shows that they’re opening a whole discussion about the [African National Congress’s] ability to govern.”
Professor Jacobs runs a popular blog called Africa Is A Country that provided insightful commentary on the student protests in real time via Twitter. Follow @AfricasACountry for further context and updates on the situation in South Africa. Additionally, learn more about the student protests in a short documentary film produced by Africa Is A Country titled “Shutting Down the Rainbow Nation.”