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News

20 October 2015

#FeesMustFall – a statement of solidarity

Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) fully supports the #FeesMustFall campaign. We believe that education is a fundamental human right, not a privilege, and stand in solidarity with all parties working to ensure equitable access to tertiary institutions.

 Photo courtesy of Destiny Connect


GALA stands firm in its position that education is a cornerstone of a just and democratic society. Our ongoing commitment in the field of education rights is driven by the knowledge that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people continue to be denied access to schools, and that this in turn robs them of the opportunity to participate fully in society. Being denied an education – whether on discriminatory or economic grounds – amounts to a violation of a person's freedom and dignity.

We therefore believe that all people deserve equal access to education, regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. We call on all relevant parties – including governments, university councils, private stakeholder and civil society – to heed the demands of the protesters and to take steps to reform South Africa's higher education system. These parties must enact robust policies promoting inclusion and diversity, and must meaningfully address the economic disparity that continues to plague our country. This will only be possible with the regulation of course fees and the end of exploitative outsourcing practices.

These demands have implications beyond universities. The struggles of all oppressed peoples are connected, be they the struggles waged by the LGBTI community, the working class, those seeking asylum, or young people robbed of an education. GALA recognises the value of cross-sector solidarity and so welcomes the space afforded to LGBTI voices within the current protest movement. Serious dialogue is the first step towards a truly democratic society and so we call on all parties to work together in peace and solidarity.

GALA salutes those students, staff members and allies from across the country who continue to make a contribution to this vital movement.

Further information about GALA’s work (including our youth and education programme) can be found online: www.gala.co.za

For media enquiries, please contact John Marnell on john.marnell@wits.ac.za or 011 717 4239.

Photo courtesy of Daily Maverick 

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