25 June 2019

South Africa: Age-Old Battle Lines Are Drawn in Parliament


At the National Assembly debate to unpack President Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA, a new dynamic was on display, thanks to an unprecedented influx of recently elected MPs under the age of 35. While many will welcome this injection of youth, there were signs the old guard might be chafing against what the ANC's Yunus Carrim termed 'youth fundamentalism'.

It was always going to be interesting to see what the Fallists would bring to Parliament. And judging by the tenor of Tuesday' 25 June's SONA debate, their presence in the House looks likely to have a disproportionate impact.

First to the podium was newly-minted ANC MP Nompendulo Mkhatshwa. Now 26, Mkhatshwa became one of the foremost faces of the #FeesMustFall protests while registered as a BSc student at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she would go on to serve as SRC president.

African National Congress MP Nompendulo Mkhatshwa. (Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim)

Even as a student activist protesting against the ANC government's higher education funding policies, Mkhatshwa made no secret of her political affiliation. As a student, she had a part-time job as a researcher at Luthuli House. When she shot to prominence through the Fallist movement, she was photographed for...

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