The university upon the hill"There is something special about Wits," vice-chancellor Adam Habib told me."All the leaders went here over the decades: Mandela walked these corridors, and Sobukwe taught in them.
Helen Zille is an alumnus as is Gwede Mantashe and the ANC notables. The entire top brass of the EFF come from here but as do most of the leaders from business, media, civil society and other sectors."This status and its geography make Wits a "city upon the hill" but also a symbolic prize for political parties hoping to demonstrate their credibility with young voters, who remain a massively untapped segment of the voting population.
"This has created a toxic environment where proxy political wars are played out between parties as well as intra-party factions… Political parties are now the curse of South African universities. They ensure that student politics is governed by party paranoia and political spectacle," Habib complained.At Wits, the student representative council (SRC) has traditionally been dominated by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) – made up of the ANC Youth League, the SA Students Congress and the Young Communists League.
But in 2017, the PYA suffered a crushing blow when the EFF Students Command (EFFSC) took 12 out of 15 seats on the SRC.2018 would be very different.At roughly 13:00 on October 15, 2018, two rallies kicked off on opposite sides of the library lawns at Wits.
On the north side was the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi; and at the PYA rally on the steps of the Great Hall was #FeesMustFall activist Mcebo Dlamini.