PEN SA Calls on Govt and Universities to Safeguard Protesting Students

21 Oct 2015
PEN SA Calls on Govt and Universities to Safeguard Protesting Students

Please fill in the online form if you would like to us add your name to PEN South Africa’s call to the government and universities: click here.

To Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa and to Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, to the Vice Chancellors of South Africa’s Universities

PEN South Africa calls on you to intervene with urgency and restraint in the escalating #FeesMustFall crisis that has brought thousands of students out onto the streets in protest and which has shut down almost all universities in South Africa. Nipping this in the bud will forestall the possibility of the crisis trickling down to other layers in the educational system.

PEN South Africa stands for the right to freedom of expression – violence denies this fundamental human right. The exclusion of so many from university because the cost of an education is too high denies an educated, literate productive future to this generation of South Africans.

The scenes we witnessed today in which student protesters were met with heavily armed riot policemen, stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets were deeply shocking. Education is a constitutionally guaranteed right which many are denied because they are poor. These are images that evoke the spectre of heavy-handedness that is inimical with the ethos of our democracy.

These protests indicate that there has been a profound failure to deal imaginatively and politically with the deep social, educational and economic divides in South Africa. The abiding irony is that the drama unfolding outside parliament didn’t seem to stir the Members of Parliament, many of whom contributed as student activists to the ushering in of democracy.

We call on you to act before the violence escalates further. We call on you to act before a single young life is lost. We call on you to act to safeguard both the lives and futures of the students protesting.

The most important thing to remember is that these students represent the future. They deserve to be heard.

PEN South Africa brings together poets, novelists, essayists, historians, playwrights, critics, translators, editors, journalists and screenwriters in a common concern for the craft and art of writing and a commitment to freedom of expression through the written word. It is a pertinent time to remember the words of American novelist James Baldwin that power without morality leads to tyranny.

Margie Orford
PEN South Africa

Mandla Langa
Executive Vice-President
PEN South Africa

Raymond Louw
Vice President
PEN South Africa

Please fill in the online form if you would like to us add your name to PEN South Africa’s call to the government and universities: click here.


Ben Williams, Editor
Masande Ntshanga, Author
Hsien Lou, Author
Pierre De Vos, Lecturer
Noélle Koeries, Tutor
Sibongile Sithole, Student
Adrianne Harun, Writer
Jeff MacGregor, Writer
Angela Quintal, Journalist
Margaret Fisher, Scholar-Artist
Bassie Gola, Student
Arturo Calisto, Teacher
Anita Branco
Lwandile Fikeni, Essayist
Alecia Samuels, Academic
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Writer
Louis Greenberg, Writer
Helen Walne, Author
Tim House
Herman Wasserman, Academic and Author
Zanele Mbuyisa, Attorney
Cat Lucas, English PEN Writers at Risk Programme Manager
Joost Nijsen, Publisher, Podium
Ncumisa Bam, Analyst
Peet Strydom, Chief Testing Officer
Jennifer Clement, PEN International President
Nadia Davids, Writer
Gillian Slovo, Writer
Aline Davidoff, Writer, PEN Mexico
Kama Sokolnicka, Artist
Lisa Appignanesi, Writer and Former President of English PEN
Lauren Murphy, Student
Thapelo Mahlangu, Student
Liam Kruger, Writer
Liesl Jobson, Writer, Poetry International
Nelisa Tshaka, Manager
Leon de Kock, Scholar and Writer
Prabu Deepan, Activist
Jean Ngwenya
Michele Magwood, Journalist
Faith Biti, Student
Gillian Rightford, Lecturer and Consultant
Iain Thomas, Poet
Pippa Mcleod, Designer
Salma Seedat, CEO
Rae Mackinnon-Little
Nooshin Erfani, Development and PEN SA Board Member
Louis Fourie, Software Engineer
Louise Marsland, Journalist
Beata Hrycak, Translator
Morag Swanepoel, Teacher
Diane Moor, Marketer
Lawrence Hamilton, Academic and Writer
Erica Livingston, Writer
Lesley Cowling, Academic, Wits University
Jennifer Malec, Editor
Atlegang Molefe, Architectural draughtsman
Tracy-Lee Edwards, Teacher
David Bishop, Radio
Laura Murwisi, Student
Keshni Deacon, Advertising
Christa Kuljian, Writer
Monalisa Murenge, Student
Colleen Higgs, Publisher, Modjaji Books
Rudi Wicomb, Librarian
Dawn Garisch, Writer and Medical Doctor
Melvin Smith, Retired
Judith February, Lawyer/ Research associate
Athol Williams, Poet
Penny de Vries, Manager
Debra Primo, Publisher
Michelle Bergh, RCCT Counsellor
Charles King, Academic
Ashraf Kagee, Academic, Stellenbosch University
Paul Hansen, Entrepreneur
sheunesu Marunge, Teacher
Karina Szczurek, Writer
Lynne Mansfield-Barry, Candidate Attorney
Vertrees Malherbe, Historian
Richard de Nooy, Author
Kerry Hammerton, Poet
John Jeremiah, Process Artisan
Laurice Taitz, Journalist
Bruce Gordon, Chartered Accountant
Christine Coates, Poet
Danyela Demir, PhD student
Karen Burgers, Water Scientist
Don Pinnock, Writer
Nicola Bruce, Musician
Najumoeniesa Damon, Educator
Janita Lawrence, Writer
Lynne Smit, Communicator
Marguerite de Waal, Postgraduate student
Renee Naude
Cameron Mitchell, Technologist and sometime writer
Unathi Mahlati
Nicky Schmidt, Writer
Julia Brown, Executive Assistant
Lida Krüger, Lecturer
Meg Vandermerwe, Writer and Academic
Josine Overdevest
Harry Owen, Poet
Ansa Smit, Vocalist, Musician and Poet
Daniel Canogar, Visual artist
Cheryl Polkinghorne, Self-employed
Simon van Schalkwyk, Lecturer
Anne Schuster, Writer
Daniela Lovera, Artist
Juan Nascimento, Artist
Savannah Freemantle, Writer
Alan Muller, Lecturer and Reseacher, University of Zululand
Jeremy Raguain, Student
Baron Glanvill, Student
Yewande Omotoso, Writer
Amy Heydenrych, Writer
Amy Goodenough, Researcher
Kathryn Smith, Academic
Judy Ward, Writer and Educator
Anja De Klerk, Researcher
Michael Benjamin, Teacher
Ann Harrison, Director, Freedom to Write Programme
Chris Reid, Trend Researcher
Trasi Henen, Artist
Marion Scher, Journalist and Media trainer
Mary Watson, Writer
Dominique Benton, Educator and Visual Artist
I Lagardien, Writer
Karen Hurt, Writer and Editor
Etienne Shardlow, Editor
Chris Vick, Communications consultant
Elinor Sisulu, Writer, Puku Children’s Literature Foundation
Susie Cornell, Administrator
Gaongalelwe Tiro, Citizen
Rebecca Servadio, Literary Scout
Maisaka Ramoloto
Litha Gcwabe
Mark Dunlop
Karen Jennings, Author
Buhle Sithole, Media
Sue Blaine, Journalist
Andrea Nattrass, Publisher
Dikeledi Lebeloane, Social Woker
Njabulo Ndebele, Writer, Academic
Duduzile Mabaso, Writer, Publisher, Black Letter Media
Jenny Chadwick, Musician and Ceramist
Glynis Humphrey, Student, University of Cape Town
Glenda Daniels, Academic
Tiah Beautement, Writer
Simeon Gready, Junior Programme Officer, Justice and Peace Netherlands
Raymond Suttner, Researcher and analyst
ZP Dala, Writer, Lecturer
Mary Hoffman, Writer
Shelagh Ward, Technical regulation
Ntando Jele, Community Development Practitioner
Reuben Gready Student
Nicole Houze, Designer
Palesa Masoeu, Human Resources
Chris vd Merwe, Journalist
Christine Coates, Poet, Writer
Badger van Rooyen
Kwena J Motadi, Graphic Designer
Carole Bloch
Makhosazana Xaba, Writer
Rosemund Handler, Writer
Naydene Fisher, Citizen
Harry Owen, Poet
Friedel Maritz, Clerk
Nicky Browne, Writer
Carolynn Bruton, Teacher and PG Student, University of Cape Town
Lynn Huggins-Cooper, Author, Forest House Press
Susie Dinneen, Writer
Gabeba Baderoon, Writer and Academic
Rustum Kozain, Writer
Bontle Senne, Writer
Kathryn Evans, Author
Kate Whittaker, elearning project manager
Evadeen Brickwood, Author
Jim Pascual Agustin, Poet and Translator
Bronwyn Louise Hendricks, Professional Tutor
Salman Rushdie, Writer, PEN
Craig Bruton, Company owner
Carol Christie
Tyrone Fisher, Satirical Journalist
Adean Van Dyk, Academic and Student, Stellenbosch University
Gundo Zwedzi, Student, University of Venda
Andrew Feinstein, Writer
Karin Karlekar, Director of Free Expression Programs, PEN America
James Reed
Nozibele Tshobeni, Chartered Accountant
Hélène Scott, Co-director of H.A.N.D
Pat Walsh, Writer
Vanessa Harbour, Senior Lecturer
Marianne Valentine, Sub editor
Sarah Browne, Teacher
Nozizwe Cynthia Jele, Writer and Entrepreneur
Vanessa Gelder-Gumede, IT
Annette Bayne, Freelance Writer
Steve Connolly, Publisher
Liesl Theron, Consultant, Researcher, UCT Alumni
Marita van der Vyver, Writer, PEN Afrikaans
Tinotenda Mavunga, Law Student
Alison Gericke, Musician and Teacher
Sophia Cowx, Art Psychotherapist
Stanley Trollip, Writer
Hyun-Jung Kim Organizer, Advocate, Writer
Karin Brynard, Writer and Journalist
Louis Gaigher, Publisher
Gillian Mitchell, Freelance Consultant
Nicolette Moses, Arts Administrator
Gwendolyn Wellmann, Sociologist
Maryke Van Velden, Illustrator
Derrick Higginbotham, Lecturer
Melissa Steyn, Academic
Robyn Porteous, Social Media and Web Content Manager
Lee Jones, Editor, Ecologist
Charne Simpson, Online Content Producer
Dorothy Dyer
Susan Holland-Muter, Student
Trudi Aucamp, Freelance journalist
Therese Giraud, Writer
Bridget Pitt, Author
Mapule Mohulatsi, Student and Teacher
Elise Malherbe, Engineer/Business
Margaret Clough, Writer
Maren Bodenstein, Editor
Jenny Hobbs, Writer
Danie Marais, Poet and journalist
Hettie Scholtz, Consultant editor
Nathan Trantraal, Poet
Are van Schalkwyk, Language practitioner
Joelle Chesselet, Documentary film maker
Hugh Masekela, Musician
Melissa Fagan, Freelance writer and editor
Carien Smith, Writer and Academic
Alta Folscher, Researcher
Marko van der Colff, Actor
Medri Durrr, Artist
Jeannie Waudby, Author
Justin Fox, Writer and PEN SA Board member
Emma Walton, Student
Zoe Ahrends, Student
Bilqees Baker, Student
Alice Torres, Student
Charl-Pierre Naude, Journalist
Natalie Gendron, Student
Alda du Plooy
Adam Randles
Catherine Nicks, Student
Chloe Krepelka, Student
Julia Campbell-Gillies, Student
Michele Rowe, Writer
Chwayita Njobe, Student
Jacqui L’Ange, Writer
Vanessa Clark, Journalist
Cayleigh Bright, Author
Miranda Sherry, Writer
Olivia Rose Walton, Writer
Lauren Beukes, Writer
Nnedi Okorafor, Writer and Professor
Nisha Varghese, Activist
Angel Kamp, Accounts
Caryn Gootkin, Writer and Editor
Kuban Velloo, Independent Consultant
James Casserly, Civil Servant
Giuliana Bland, Philanthropist
Richard Muller, Financial Planner
Collen Mthombo, Student
Nhlanhla Mabaso, Student
Vuyiswa Maqagi, Lecturer, NMMU
Signe Hammer, Writer
Hedley Twidle, Writer and Academic
Margaret Clough, Writer
Marie Philip, Retired publisher
Shubnum Khan, Author
Rose Richards, Academic