Accepted paper:

Decoloniality and Intersectionality in the South African Student Protests


Antje Daniel (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

The paper shows the ambiguity of intersectionality and decoloniality of the student protests #Rhodes Must Fall.

Paper long abstract:

Why are South African universities sites of struggle? How do we make sense of student protests? This paper considers the uprising student protests in South Africa "Fees must Fall" and "Rhodes must Fall" and discusses the decolonial debate in the movement from an intersectional perspective. The notion of decolonialization is related to the historical experiences of racism against black people und the particular history of the South African universities. By considering the student protests we are witnessing a shift from the colonial/apartheid "idea of South Africa" to the decolonial "South African idea" within a context where coloniality of markets have reduced education to a commodity only accessible to the middle and upper classes. The student protests became a symbol for a decolonial practice which claims for free education for everybody and aspires a decolonial future based on black consciousness. Within the daily practice of the social movement feminism and in general, an intersectional perspective on discrimination have been highly discussed and contested at the same time. The paper argues that feminists contributed to an intersectional debate of decolonialisation while female activist have been affected by harassment and exclusion at the same time. This shows the ambiguity of intersectionality and the persistence of gendered roles in the decolonial debates of the student protests.

back to panel Pol21
Politics and International Relations
Decolonization and pedagogy - disruptions and connections in the classroom