#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activist Chumani Maxwele says youth have to rock the boat until it sways.
Student activist Chumani Maxwele believes the campaigns #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall exemplify how young people can chart a course for change.

Maxwele, 33, infamously scattered human waste on the Cecil John Rhodes statue at UCT, and led the charge to a three-year long battle for free education.

He said the challenges faced by young people require them to fight the status quo.

“The challenges we have are around imagining things anew,” he said.

“There were so many promises made by the ruling ANC and you find a sense of impatience, especially looking at the economy and politics.

“Young people are still trying to find themselves and the frustration around who controls what, whether the means of production is in the hands of black people, whether the direction of our country is led by young people or do they know what the direction of our country is,” he said.

Maxwele said young people needed to look beyond what society expected of them.

“I think what we can focus on is pushing the existing boundaries, and part of doing that is thinking differently to question the status quo.

“#RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall were about pushing boundaries. If you had come to UCT prior to this time, the institution and its people had certain limitations. If you were at UCT as a black person, you had to be happy that you were inside, therefore you didn’t question anything else.

“Now the university is a different place that is the role of young people, we must not be complacent. These notions that you are lucky and a part of a few and must be happy with that, for us is about moving from that and going mad about changing that.

“We also have to change society’s expectation that the only way to succeed is through getting an education and getting a job. We neglect our talents. Why are we still expecting people to give us jobs?”

Maxwele said young people needed to play active roles in politics and business, emerge as big players and do away with the culture of elderly politicians in power.

“That is an African phenomenon, it is a sad state of affairs that politics as the most important vehicle in society is led by those who are too old.

“We have leaders who spend decades in power,” he added.

“The EFF is showing us that you can be a young person in Parliament and address people’s lives.

“And as young people we are gifted in that we have the potential to change things quickly, we have not exploited that.

“The ANC also has a lot of young people but they are in a long queue waiting for their grandmothers and mothers to disappear, that by the time they get to the front they themselves are grandparents who then need to keep those positions.

“One cannot undermine the role of Mmusi Maimane in the DA as a relatively young person leading a party, it is a serious stride. But making sure that it’s sustainable is a question young people have to answer.”