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“Unity” – Zwelinzima Vavi Sums Up the Strength of the Fees Must Fall Protests (Podcast)

Cosatu in CrisisZwelinzima Vavi recently spoke to Sebenzile Nkambule on her Power FM radio show. The former general secretary of Cosatu reflected on the staggering success of the #FeesMustFall movement.

Nkambule sets out to unpack the way the protest narrative in South Africa functions, and how the recent student protests have changed this. She asks Vavi about what he thinks the students did differently to get it right, when so many workers’ protests have been less successful.

Vavi sums up the strength of the student movements in one word: “Unity”. He says: “The students were united across ideological and political differences.” This dynamic solidarity is something that trade union movements have not been able to marshal in their protests. In student politics, everyone is united in a common struggle and are clear and unrelenting about what they are fighting for.

Political interference, Vavi says, also significantly damages student and worker protests. In light of this, he comments on the relatively negligible success of politicised trade unions. He says Cosatu has been “fatally wounded” by uncomfortably close relations with manipulative politics.

Listen to the podcast:


Book details

  • Cosatu in Crisis: The Fragmentation of an African Trade Union Federation edited by Vishwas Satgar and Roger Southall
    EAN: 9780992232948
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