Zimbabwe National Student Union carries out HoldTheDoor! action with support from the GURU fund

In March 2021, the Zimbabwean Government approved a fees increase of up to a massive 450 percent for universities following proposals by tertiary institutions in the country. This means universities that cost $9000 per semester now cost $40,000.

Zimbabwean students decried the move, saying it was pushing tertiary education out of the reach of many in a country that has seen populations sliding into abject poverty driven by years of authoritarian rule, corruption, and inflation. 

A number of brave Zimbabwean students pushed for a complete reversal of the policy. They organised a blockade (see tactic: blockade) at the administration building, and sang and chanted while addressing other students and informing them of their right to quality, affordable education.

Students charged on despite their fear of excessive force by the Zimbabwean security forces. The result was a slight decrease in the fees required. While they celebrate this small win, they recognise that the fight is not over. The required school fees are still out of reach for many of Zimbabwe’s university students.

Beautiful Trouble believes in the power of student activism. Supporting frontline activists is key to breaking the neoliberalisation of academia. While we have seen more African countries increase the cost of tertiary education, the radical  actions of these Zimbabwean students, as well as others in Uganda and South Africa continue to give us hope. We continue to support the efforts of frontline activists through our Get Up Rise Up Direct Action Fund. With a little support and solidarity, a flicker of hope can become a full-on flame.

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GURU Grantee: Right Care Alliance