News Brief

#FeesMustFall2016: South Africa’s Tuition Fees to Rise in 2017, Students Prepare for Protest Action

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says it will be up to South Africa’s universities to determine their own fee increases for the 2017 academic year.

In October 2015, a proposed 10.5 percent hike in tuition fees set off a wave of student-led demonstrations throughout South Africa. The nationwide #FeesMustFall movement resulted in a zero percent fee increase. Just over 11 months since the initial onset of the student protests, South Africa’s universities are on fire for a second year in a row.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced Monday at a press conference in Pretoria that it will be up to South Africa’s universities to determine their own fee increases for the 2017 academic year–with a suggested cap of 8 percent–and that the government will assist qualifying students (those from families earning less than 600,000 rand / $42,600 a year) to fund the gap between the 2015 fee and their institution’s adjusted 2017 fee.

Student groups at various institutions throughout the country responded with threats to shut down their campuses. Students have already begun protesting at the universities of Witwatersrand, Pretoria and Cape Town, where classes were suspended Monday ahead of Nzimande’s announcement.

Photo: Jolaoso Adebayo.

Crayon Is Nigeria's Prince of Bright Pop Melodies

Since emerging on the scene over two years ago, Crayon has carved a unique path with his catchy songs.

During the 2010s, the young musician Charles Chibuezechukwu made several failed attempts to get into a Nigerian university. On the day of his fifth attempt, while waiting for the exam's commencement, he thought of what he really wanted out of life. To the surprise of the thousands present, he stood up and left the centre, having chosen music. "Nobody knew I didn't write the exam," Charles, who's now known to afro pop lovers as Crayon, tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom call from a Lagos studio. "I had to lie to my parents that I wrote it and didn't pass. But before then, I had already met Don Jazzy and Baby Fresh [my label superiors], so I knew I was headed somewhere."

His assessment is spot on. Over the past two years Crayon's high-powered records have earned him a unique space within Nigeria's pop market. On his 2019 debut EP, the cheekily-titled Cray Cray, the musician shines over cohesive, bright production where he revels in finding pockets of joy in seemingly everyday material. His breakout record "So Fine" is built around the adorable promises of a lover to his woman. It's a fairly trite theme, but the 21-year-old musician's endearing voice strikes the beat in perfect form, and when the hook "call my number, I go respond, oh eh" rolls in, the mastery of space and time is at a level usually attributed to the icons of Afropop: Wizkid, P-Square, Wande Coal.

"My dad used to sell CDs back in the day, in Victoria Island [in Lagos]," reveals Crayon. "I had access to a lot of music: afrobeat, hip-hop, Westlife, 2Face Idibia, Wizkid, and many others." Crayon also learnt stage craft from his father's side hustle as an MC, who was always "so bold and confident," even in the midst of so much activity. His mother, then a fruit seller, loved Igbo gospel songs; few mornings passed when loud, worship songs weren't blasting from their home. All of these, Crayon says, "are a mix of different sounds and different cultures that shaped my artistry."

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