South African universities have been affected by the biggest student protests to hit the country since apartheid ended in 1994.
South Africa’s president has warned that the protests, which have caused about $44m (£34m) in damage to property in the last few weeks, could threaten to sabotage the country’s entire higher education system.
What sparked the protests?
In 2015, proposed tuition fee hikes of between 10% and 12% sparked protests.
The demonstrations began last October at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand when students blocked the entrance to the university campus, following indications that the institution would raise fees by 10.5% for 2016.
The demonstrations, under the banner #FeesMustFall, led to the closure of some of the country’s top universities – and President Zuma ordered a freeze on tuition fees for a year.
But protests erupted again last month after a government proposal to raise tuition fees by up to 8% in 2017.
They are now demanding free education for all students.
Which students are affected?
Many black students say they come from poor families, and fee increases will rob them of the opportunity to continue studying.
Students say the fee hikes amount to discrimination in a country where the average income of black families is far less than that of white families.
They want free education for everyone, starting with the poor and “missing middle”- those whose parents have jobs but don’t make enough to afford tertiary education.
Extreme income inequality remains a persistently stubborn problem more than two decades after the end of apartheid in 1994.
Correspondents say the protests show growing disillusionment with the governing African National Congress (ANC), which took power after 1994, over high levels of poverty, unemployment and corruption in government.
The students want the opportunities promised when apartheid ended.
How are university fees determined?
Annual increases in student fees differ between universities as fees are determined by institutions. Fees also vary across degree programs.
Universities have three main sources of income: Government subsidies, student fees and private sources. The number and financial background of students influence individual university subsidies.
While government funding for higher education has increased by nearly 70% since 2001, according to news organisation Ground Up, student enrolment numbers have also increased leading to a decrease in the subsidy per student.
In addition South African institutions want to provide a “world class” education and argue that they battle to maintain standards amid financial constraints.
Why did the protests spread?
The proposed fee increases are not exceptional in comparison to usual annual increases, which are often between around 7% and 14%. While there have been protests about fees at individual universities in previous years, the national scale of these protests over the last 12 months has been unprecedented.
It seems impossible to separate the protests from demonstrations earlier in 2015 around a lack of transformation at South African universities more than two decades after the end of white-minority rule.
Apartheid and education:
- One of the main laws of apartheid was the Bantu Education Act of 1953
- It prevented black children from reaching their full potential
- A black education department compiled a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. The aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they would not be allowed to hold in society
A move to “decolonise” higher education was sparked when politics student Chumani Maxwele emptied a bucket of excrement over the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) campus in March 2015.
The statue was eventually removed, but similar movements formed at other universities calling for diverse academics and changes to curriculum. This gave the movement a springboard: To correct the historical legacies of apartheid in higher education.
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The Forgotten Exodus: 7 Facts About the Black Loyalists and Refugee Negroes Escaping American Wars to CanadaBy Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
June 29, 2016 | Posted by Ricky Riley
The War of 1812
After the War of 1812, former enslaved Blacks fled to Canada and the Caribbean in search for a better life post-slavery. The second war between the British and the young United States of America was waged over tariffs, trade and the conscription of 10,000 American sailors. From 1812-15, this war was a footnote to the much larger Napoleonic Wars of the time.
According to historical records, British vice admiral of the empire’s royal fleet, Sir John Borlase Warren, wanted enslaved Blacks to fight for the Red Coats. To achieve this, Warren promised Black men and their families freedom in exchange for military service.
Immediately, the Royal Navy got word of this and officers began to employ the strategy throughout their forces.
The Voyage to the Great Frozen North and Deep, Deep South
There were an estimated 3,600 former enslaved Africans who came from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia fleeing to the Red Coats’ side.
This large influx of free Black people settled in Nova Scotia, building homes and churches that still stand today. The “Refugee Negroes” also settled in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, and 95 went to the Caribbean island of Trinidad in 1815.
The First Black Person in Canada was from Benin
The very first Black man to come to Canada was a free Benin interpreter named Lusofonia — also known as Mathieu da Costa.
In 1605, Lusofonia was a member of the French exploring party including Pierre Dugua, the Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain. He began translating for the Portuguese in the late 1500s. However, by 1600, he began to work for the French accompanying de Champlain and Dugua on voyages along the Canadian Atlantic Coast.
His mastery of English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch languages made him a valuable commodity to the French
Canada was Not the Perfect Paradise
By 1630, Black people were brought to Nova Scotia during the founding of the towns of Louisbourg and Halifax as enslaved people. In the 18th century, a second wave came to the nation during the American Revolution. This group were the “Black Loyalists” who left America, joined the British during the American Revolution, and moved to Canada. Many loyalists joined the British forces as soldiers serving in regiments such as the Royal Ethiopian and Black Pioneers.
A Brave New World
After the Black Loyalists settled this brave new world, Black people began to create a society for themselves.
For example, Rose Fortune was born into slavery in the U.S. but in Canada she became an entrepreneur and the first woman of any race to be a police officer. Fortune came to Canada as a Black Loyalist during the American Revolution. The Black pioneer policed and protected warehouses of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
However, many were not as lucky as Fortune. The colony of Nova Scotia fell into an economic depression by the tail end of the War of 1812. It was also faced with an influx of European immigrants adding more competitors to the weak job market.
Glacial Progress in the Land of Snow and Ice
After a few decades of adjusting to their new reality, the opportunities for Black Nova Scotians began to open up. The creation of institutions such as the Royal Acadian School and the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church helped inspire hope and increase literacy among the newly arrived.
The Royal Acadian School was created in 1814 by British officer and reformer Walter Bromley to teach Black, poor and immigrant children in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Black Refugees founded the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church (formerly known as the African Chapel and the African Baptist Church) in Halifax in 1832. This church became a cultural center for the Black community well into the 1900s.
Black Power in the Frozen North
By the 1900s, Black liberation movements were created to address the racial discrimination aimed at Black Canadians. The church became a de facto meeting place and headquarters for the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Colored People, established in 1945.
The man at the center of this Black unification for justice was William Pearly Oliver, minister of Cornwallis Street Baptist Church starting in 1937.
The NSAACP arrived on the international stage after protester and businesswoman Viola Desmond of Halifax was arrested for refusing to get out of her seat at the New Glasgow Roseland Theatre on November 8, 1946. Desmond sat in the “white-only” section of the theater even though she was willing to pay for the more expensive ticket. The Canadian civil rights pioneer defied segregation nine years before Rosa Parks did. The incident launched the modern civil rights movement in the nation, and Oliver was at the forefront. Many other organizations sprung from the NSAACP, such as the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (1967), the Black United Front (1969), and the Black Cultural Center (1983).Post Views: 815
By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
By: 24/7 Wall St
The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1965 made great strides toward racial equality. However, this legislation ― ending decades of government-sponsored racial oppression and intended to reverse the effects of hundreds of years of slavery ― by no means resolved racial inequality in the United States.
Racial differences in the United States are prevalent regardless of geography. While social and economic gaps are wider in some states than in others, the gaps exist across all areas, and we were unable to identify any states where black Americans are better off than white residents. For this reason, we expanded last year’s list of the 10 worst states for black Americans to include all 50 states.
Across virtually all social and economic measures, there are wide racial disparities. Compared to white people in the United States, African Americans are considerably less likely to own their homes, twice as likely to be unemployed, nearly three times as likely to live in poverty, and five times more likely to go to prison.
According to Economic Policy Institute Research Associate Richard Rothstein, these disparities are entirely attributable to residential segregation, which in turn is attributable to deliberate, racially conscious, government policies implemented over the course of the 20th century. During this time, the Federal Housing Administration financed thousands of suburban development projects with the explicit requirement that no homes be sold to African Americans.
For Rothstein, the existence of racial segregation today is “a constitutional violation, and it requires a remedy.”
Housing equity is the single largest source of middle class family wealth. The tens of thousands of homes bought by white families in the 50’s and 60’s in many cases have tripled in value. Because this wealth is frequently transmitted from one generation to another, Rothstein explained, economic mobility, especially for black Americans, is extremely limited. The removal of such policies was effectively an empty promise, he added, because very few African Americans could afford to live in the neighborhoods after the equity gains.
Today, 71.0% of white individuals and families own their homes, in stark contrast with the black homeownership rate of 41.2%. In some states, the gap is considerably larger. In North Dakota, fewer than one in 10 black householders own their homes, while more than two in every three white individuals and families own the homes in which they live. The gap between the white and black homeownership rates in Maine, at 72.6% and 13.3%, is even wider.
This troubling ownership disparity speaks to the similarly wide racial wealth gap. Black families in the United States have only 5% as much wealth as white families.
In her widely cited book The New Jim Crow (2010), Ohio State University Professor Michelle Alexander found that there were more African Americans in jails, prisons, or on probation or parole, than there were enslaved in 1850. While the percentage of black Americans imprisoned today is far lower than the share who were enslaved in 1850, African Americans are disproportionately represented in prisons compared to whites.
For every 100,000 black people nationwide, 2,306 are incarcerated, versus just 450 white prisoners per 100,000 white Americans. The black incarceration rate is highest in West Virginia, where 7,360 black residents are in prison for every 100,000 black West Virginians, 11 times the state’s white incarceration rate of 662 per 100,000.
Rothstein attributes this problem also to residential segregation. “Police might profile African Americans in integrated neighborhoods, but you wouldn’t have the occupying force that we have now.” It is this large police presence, he explained, that has led to confrontational and often violent relationships between law enforcement and African American members of these communities, especially young people.
One consequence of segregation is massive funding disparities within school districts, leading to similarly wide educational attainment gaps, which in turn contribute to racial inequality more generally.
Per pupil annual primary and secondary school spending in the United States is approximately $10,700. Schools with predominantly non-white student an estimated $733 less per student per year than schools with 90 percent or more white students, according to a report from the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights from the 2013-2014 school year, 11% of black students ― versus 5% of white students ― attend schools where more than 20% of teachers are in their first year of teaching.
While more than one in every three white adults nationwide has at least a bachelor’s degree, fewer than one in five black adults has a college degree.
> Pct. residents black: 3.1% (13th lowest)
> Black homeownership rate: 30.4% (15th lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 3,473 per 100,000 (8th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 14.8% (the highest)
Compared with most states, there are relatively few black residents in Iowa. Compared to white state residents, African American Iowa residents are far more likely to live in poverty. The poverty rate among black state residents of 34.4% is higher than the national black poverty rate of 27.0%. It is also more than three times greater than the poverty rate among white residents of 10.5%, inline with the national white poverty rate of 10.8%. Similarly, the percentage of white laborers looking for work, at 3.2%, is lower than the national white unemployment rate of 4.6%. Meanwhile, 14.8% of black Iowan workers are unemployed, well above the national black unemployment rate of 9.6% ― and more than 4.5 greater than the white jobless rate.
Iowa’s incarceration rate is even more divided along racial lines. For every 100,000 black Iowans, 3,473 are in prison, the eighth highest such rate of all states. For every 100,000 white residents, by contrast, only 324 are incarcerated, one of the lower such rates.
> Pct. residents black: 4.6% (19th lowest)
> Black homeownership rate: 31.4% (18th lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,452 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 5.3% (10th lowest)
Compared with black residents in other states, African Americans living in Nebraska are relatively well educated and seem to have more job opportunities. The percentage of black adults with at least a bachelor’s degree and the percentage of black laborers out of a job, at 24.2% and 5.3%, respectively, are considerably better than the comparable rates across the nation.
While for many white Americans, a college degree and gainful employment all but guarantee good economic outcomes, like owning a home, for black Nebraska residents this does not appear to be the case. Just 31.4% of black householders own their homes, well below the national black homeownership rate of 41.2% and in stark contrast with the white Nebraska homeownership rate of 70.0%.
> Pct. residents black: 3.8% (17th lowest)
> Black homeownership rate: 35.9% (24th lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 3,651 per 100,000 (5th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 5.9% (11th lowest)
Colorado residents are among the most well-off in the country. As in every state, however, the prosperity is largely distributed along racial lines. The unemployment rate among black workers in the state, at 5.9%, is lower than the national black unemployment rate of 9.6%. However, it is still well above the jobless rates for whites both in Colorado and nationally, at 3.8% and 4.6%, respectively. Black Colorado residents are also far more likely to go to prison compared with their white peers. For every 100,000 black Colorado residents, 3,651 are in prison, the fifth highest figure compared with black populations of other states and several times greater than Colorado’s white incarceration rate of 509 per 100,000.
Economic disadvantages such as these can contribute to adverse health outcomes. For black mothers living in the state, the infant mortality rate is over 10 deaths per 1,000 live births ― close to double the rate among white Colorado mothers and mirroring the national difference.
> Pct. residents black: 32.1% (2nd highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 46.9% (7th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,749 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 9.7% (22nd highest)
Black Louisiana residents make up 32.1% of the state’s population, more than twice the national proportion and the second highest of all states after only Mississippi. Despite the relatively large black population, Louisiana is one of the worst states for African Americans.
As is the case nationwide, black Louisiana residents are far more likely to go to prison than their white peers. The incarceration rate among white state residents, at 675 per 100,000 white Louisianans, is the fourth highest among whites nationwide. It is still much lower than the incarceration rate among black residents of 2,749 per 100,000 African American residents, which is just the 18th highest compared to other states’ black populations. Black families in Louisiana are among the most likely to own their home, with 46.9% of homes with black heads of household owned by their occupants, the second highest such rate in the nation. However, the rate is still in stark contrast with the white homeownership rate of 74.4%. Similarly, a typical black household earns just over 50% of the white median household income of $52,940, itself not particularly high compared to white households nationwide.
6. New Jersey
> Pct. residents black: 12.8% (16th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 37.8% (22nd highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 1,992 per 100,000 (13th lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 10.0% (tied – 20th highest)
The poverty rate among white residents in New Jersey of 6.4% is well below the national poverty rate of 15.5%. Black residents, however, are more than three times as likely to live in poverty as their white counterparts, with nearly 20% of New Jersey’s African American residents living in poverty. Homeownership rates are usually divided along racial lines, and New Jersey is no exception. Three out of every four homes with white heads of households are owned by their occupants, compared to a black homeownership rate of just 37.8%.
As is the case nationwide, incarceration rates in New Jersey are substantially higher for the African American population than for white residents. Out of every 100,000 black state residents, nearly 1,000 are incarcerated, roughly five times the incarceration rate among white New Jersey residents.
> Pct. residents black: 14.1% (14th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 38.5% (21st highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,128 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 12.2% (tied – 5th highest)
By many measures, whites do better in Illinois than they do nationally, while the opposite is true for black state residents. The annual income of a typical white household in Illinois exceeds the corresponding national figure by about $5,000. Conversely, the typical black household in Illinois earns about $2,000 less than the typical American black household, and barely half of what the typical white household makes. Poverty rates along racial lines echo the income discrepancy in Illinois. While 10.8% of whites nationwide live in poverty, only 9.3% of whites in Illinois do. In contrast, the national black poverty rates of 27.0% is significantly lower than the corresponding state rate of 30.6%.
Lower incomes in the state accompany lower homeownership rates. While nearly three quarters of whites in Illinois own the home they live in, the homeownership rate among black residents is just under 39%. The black homeownership rate nationally is slightly higher, at 41.2%.
> Pct. residents black: 15.5% (12th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 43.7% (14th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,555 per 100,000 (22nd highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 9.0% (25th lowest)
Driven in part by a relatively high incarceration rate, black Americans in Florida are the most likely to be disenfranchised. Nearly one in four black Florida residents have had their right to vote revoked in some way, the highest proportion in the country. In absolute terms, 520,521 black individuals living in Florida are disenfranchised, also the highest number in the nation.
The infant mortality rate within the black population in Florida, at 11.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, is slightly higher than the nationwide rate of 11.0 deaths per 1,000 births among black American mothers. At the same time, however, the infant mortality rate among the white population in Florida, at 5.0 deaths per 1,000 live births, is lower than the comparable national figure.
> Pct. residents black: 18.9% (9th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 46.2% (8th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,418 per 100,000 (25th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 7.9% (18th lowest)
Across the country, median annual income of black households is about $24,000 lower than the median income of white households. The income disparity in Virginian is even greater. Even though black households tend to earn more in Virginia than they do across the country, the typical black household in the state earns about $27,000 less than the typical white household.
Subject to some of the strictest disenfranchisement laws in the country, the black community in Virginia is among the most politically debilitated in the country. Nearly a quarter of a million blacks in the state ― roughly a fifth of the black population ― are ineligible to exercise their democratic right to vote. Only Florida and Kentucky have a higher share of disenfranchised black residents.
> Pct. residents black: 5.6% (22nd lowest)
> Black homeownership rate: 23.8% (8th lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,321 per 100,000 (22nd lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 14.1% (2nd highest)
The disproportionate incarceration of black Americans has been well-documented ― and Minnesota is one of the worst cases. Just 216 out of every 100,000 of the state’s caucasian population is in prison, the second lowest incarceration rate among whites in the country. Meanwhile, 2,321 of every 100,000 black Minnesota residents are imprisoned, which is the 22nd lowest rate among blacks. Black families tend to earn less money than white families, and that disparity is pronounced in Minnesota. A typical black household in Minnesota brings in just $27,026 a year, less than half of the typical white household’s income.
> Pct. residents black: 6.2% (24th lowest)
> Black homeownership rate: 25.8% (10th lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 4,042 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 11.1% (9th highest)
Wisconsin is the worst state in the country for black Americans. The median annual income of black households in the state is just $26,053, much lower than the median for black families nationwide and equal to just 46.5% the median income of white Wisconsin households of $56,083. Similarly, while 29.9% of white adults in Wisconsin have at least a bachelor’s degree, 12.8% of black adults in the state have completed college. This is also much lower than the bachelor degree attainment rate among black adults nationwide of 19.7%. The unemployment gap between black and white state residents is also troubling. With a white jobless rate of 4.1%, the state’s job market is relatively strong for the white population. For black Wisconsin residents, however, the unemployment rate is 11.1% ― higher than the national unemployment rate for all black Americans.Post Views: 1,064
Petition Launched by conservative White Media Firm to Include Clarence Thomas into African American Museum After ExclusionBy Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
There is no mention of Thomas at the museum (except for footage of Anita Hill testifying against him at his confirmation hearings). Some are running to his defense, but the museum is standing their ground, justifying his exclusion.
It is no secret that Justice Thomas is quite conservative, but his supporters do not think this should be the difference between him being included in the museum. In addition to being the second Black Supreme Court Justice ever, he is the longest-serving Black Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States.
The petition, entitled “Director for Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture and History, Lonnie Bunch III : Don’t Overlook African American Leaders like Justice Clarence Thomas,” was launched earlier this month by Megan Thomas (no relation). Megan insists that Thomas’ political stance is to blame for his exclusion. She detailed in the petition,
It is obvious politics is what kept Justice Thomas out of the museum. For years, he has been shunned by the liberal black community since he has spoken out against affirmative action. He has written that affirmative action amounts to racial discrimination, and detailed how it worked against him when he was trying to find work as a lawyer.
Curators at the museum singled out Thomas due to his unique views on race and his conservative thought that the federal government is the greatest threat to our individual liberties. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think the curators were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans.
Senior campaign organizer, of Standard United told conservative news site CNSNews, “StandUnited users are commenting on the petition about how they want to see Smithsonian embrace history, instead of selectively editing it.”
She continued: “Justice Thomas has a uniquely American story, in all its complexity – he grew up in the segregated South, and is now the second most powerful African American man in government.”
But on the other hand, it could precisely be his contributions to American government and therefore American citizens that led to his exclusion in the first place. Justice Thomas, who grew up during the Jim Crow era in Georgia, was part of the majority decision that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ensured that Jim Crow states like Georgia (among others) would have all of their citizens vote during elections without intimidation; without confusion and moving polling places without notice; without poll taxes; and without poll tests.
Additionally, Justice Thomas has likened affirmative action — which is meant to correct the historical and current blockades that have kept Black Americans from access to things like jobs and higher education — to Jim Crow, a dehumanizing, segregated and violent period of time for Black people.
When asked by CNSNews why Justice Thomas was excluded, Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, responded:
“There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them. However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.
“We will continue to collect and interpret the breadth of the African American experience,” St. Thomas said.Post Views: 836