South African rapper Gigi Lamayne stands up for students’ rights

In South Africa more and more people are joining the #FeesMustFall movement. These include Gigi Lamayne, one of South Africa’s rising hip hop stars.

#FeesMustFall is a student movement developed in South Africa in October 2015 following the announcement of fee increases by more than 10 percent in public universities.

Student protests in South Africa’s universities

Beginning at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, the movement spread to other universities: exams and programmes were cancelled, lecture halls closed and students protested in all of the country’s universities.

The movement lost strength when security guards came and cleared the occupying students out of the University.

South African students protest
South African students protest in Cape Town in October 2015 © Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

The 10% increase wasn’t implemented, but the movement is still strong in South Africa and the struggle for students’ rights continues: the protests aren’t just about rising tuition costs, they’re about racial and economic equality in education, a major issue affecting South Africa nowadays.

As reports, socioeconomic inequality in South Africa is worse today than it was during the apartheid: there is no public funding for poorer students and, according to a study conducted in 2015 by the South African Institute for Racial Relations, black South Africans make up only 16% of enrolled students in public universities and just 50% of them graduate.

Gigi Lamayne joins the protest

In South Africa more and more people are joining the #FeesMustFall movement. These include Gigi Lamayne, one of the country’s rising hip hop  stars.

Winner of four SA Hip Hop Awards, Gigi belongs to the generation of South African young people who are defined as Born Free: indeed she was born in 1994, the year apartheid officially ended.

She’s recently graduated at the top of her class at Wits and on the day of her graduation, Gigi released a new single entitled Fees Will Fall, where she shares her thoughts on the struggle for equality:

The #FeesMustFall movement is basically for students like myself who’ve struggled to make it through university due to financial constraints (…) I just feel that capitalism is the legalized form of colonialism. It ‘just so happens’ that the majority of people in power, financial power, are white (…) I also think people presume there isn’t a struggle. Because we are ‘free,’ there’s this idea that we all need to think we’re equal, that we have a level playing field, and that’s not true.

Gigi Lamayne was also featured in the video inspired by the Spice Girls’ song Wannabe realised by the Project Everyone organisation twenty years after to promote some UN global goals: quality education for all girls, end violence against girls, end child marriage and equal pay for equal work.


Featured image: rapper Gigi Lamayne on the set of a video shoot inspired by the Spice Girls video for Wannabe, for Global Girls, Cape Town © Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images.

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