This essay sets out a reflection on the 2015/2016 FMF revolt at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and develops in relation to two intertwined arguments. Firstly, I focus in on the wide-ranging transformation catalyzed by the FMF movement. In this respect I show that while the FMF initiated a struggle for the decommodification of higher education, it was also immediately about more than fees. And if it also called into question the managerial, as well as epistemological, foundations of the university, the changes it forced were often paradoxical or far from what was demanded. But I also highlight the significance of the movement in relation to the ways it gave voice to a new political subject self-consciously directed at remaking “who we are today.” Therefore, I secondly focus on the development of a collective political identity (a “we”) through the FMF mobilization and suggest that this movement is best described as a “movement of movements” whose dominant tendencies reflect the “afterlife” of the national liberation movement.
Ahmed Veriava; Leaving Solomon House: A(n Impressionistic) Portrait of the FMF Movement at Wits. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2019; 118 (1): 195–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-7281708
Download citation file: