Swaziland: Students Mark 'Black Wednesday'

press release

This date 14 November is very important in the history of the student's movement in Swaziland. It is a day which we need to commemorate, lest we forget about selfless young women and men who fought for a better learning and living environment.

It was on this day twenty two years ago that the [Barnabas] Sibusiso Dlamini led government set the army and the police, both armed to the tooth on students at the University of Swaziland Kwaluseni campus. The 'crime' of the students was protesting for better learning environment and mostly they demanded to be given their meal allowances instead of being given unhealthy food at the so called refectory. Upon arrival of the forces at the campus, the student's conscious of the fact that police and soldiers are scared of books, they went to gather at the library which was under construction then. The forces, however, invaded the library and attacked the students and caused major injuries on many of them.

It is for this reason that today we pay homage to those students who never looked back in their struggle for allowances and quality education. The strides that they made in the quest for a better learning environment are still visible even today. The mark that they made greatly impacted on the lives of the students who came after them and their legacy still lives on. Surely they are the oasis of our inspiration as students of today.

It is worth noting that even in 1990, like today, the problems faced by the students of Swaziland were mainly caused by the government than the institutions. As a result of this government manufactured injustices students find themselves spending less time in class because they will be on the streets inhaling teargas and dodging rubber bullets.

As we commemorate this watershed day let each and every student answer in a practical way the critical question-what am i doing to transform education to further transform the society?

Please remember the patriots of black Wednesday to prosperity and show by your deeds as students that you are committed to fighting for better education in the country.

Commanders of 1990 we are proud of you for the enormous contribution you made to the struggle of the students and people of Swaziland.

Mlungisi Khumalo, Deputy President

Swaziland National Union of Students statement on Black Wednesday

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