Protesting students outside the University of Fort Hare tried to force their way into the hall where Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and South African President Jacob Zuma were due to speak at centenary celebrations. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Over a hundred students marched to the sports complex where the institution’s centenary celebrations are taking place. Singing Asinamali (we don’t have money) and holding placards reading “Centenary my ass”, they threatened to disrupt proceedings.
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“If it means we fight ’til the end of the year, we will fight. What are they celebrating when we are hungry? Voetsek Zuma, voetsek Mugabe,” one student said.
Wednesday evening saw protesting Fort Hare students set fire to a building and a tent on the Alice Campus, only two days before the celebrations. The protests continued into the early hours of Friday morning when police fired rubber bullets and teargas at protesters.
The students claim that university management has not met all their demands. One of the demands was that students who do not live in residences on campus should receive allowances for accommodation and transport before the end of the first semester.
Zuma as well as Mugabe are expected to speak at today’s event.