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#FeesMustFall and Its Aftermath: Violence, Wellbeing, and the Student Movement in South Africa

Thierry M. Luescher, Angelina Wilson Fadiji, Keamogetse G. Morwe, Antonio Erasmus, Tshireletso S. Letsoalo, and Seipati B. Mokhema
#FeesMustFall and Its Aftermath: Violence, Wellbeing, and the Student Movement in South Africa
ISBN: 978-07969-2634-0
2022/206 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press
Large Format
“Creatively draws on and contributes to contemporary theoretical thinking and empirical work on violence and student well-being in higher education institutions.” —Relebohile Moletsane, Journal of Student Affairs in Africa

"An exceptional book by socially committed scholars ... original, conceptually innovative, and creatively narrated and presented."—Saleem Badat, University of KwaZulu-Natal

"Extraordinary.... Provides a view of the student movement in South Africa that is fresh, grounded, and forthright."—Crain Soudien, Nelson Mandela University


At first a small student protest against high fees at Wits University and the lack of government funding for higher education, the #FeesMustFall movement spread quickly, and violently, to other South African campuses.

#FeesMustFall tells the gripping story of the student activists' experiences during a year-long struggle that began in October 2015; it is also a story of the sacrifices that this student generation made so that others could have access to affordable higher education. Through more than a hundred photographs and accompanying narratives, the authors collaboratively reveal the scale of the upheaval that ensued as committed students successfully advocated for change.


Thierry M. Luescher is a research director at the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) and affiliated professor of higher education at the University of the Free State. Angelina Wilson Fadiji is senior lecturer in educational psychology at the University of Pretoria. Keamogetse G. Morwe is lecturer in the Department of Youth and Gender Studies at the University of Venda. Antonio Erasmus is on the staff of HSRC. Tshireletso S. Letsoalo lectures at Varsity College. Seipati B. Mokhema is associate researcher in the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.


  • Foreword—Saleem Badat.
  • Student Wellbeing, To Us.
  • Violence, Wellbeing, and a Photobook.
  • A History of Struggle.
  • Oppressive Spaces.
  • The Violence of Institutions.
  • Conscientize and Mobilize.
  • Protest and Violence.
  • Fire.
  • Our Methodology.
  • Gender Inside the Movement.
  • Fear and Trauma.
  • Outcomes of Protests.
  • Advocating Change.
  • Unity and Solidarity.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Escape and Safe Places.
  • Movement With a Purpose.
  • Contributions and Conclusions.
  • Afterword—Sharlene Schwartz.
  • Appendix: The Research Participants and Their Journeys.