At Student Affairs in partnership with the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation, we began this term with the launch of the Perspective Online student journal. This is a journal that will be in the hands of the students to utilize as a vehicle to shape the discourse around the pressing questions of higher education transformation.

The journal can be downloaded at

The advent of the Fallist Movement in the last few years has brought about an undeniable shift, urgency and impetus to the transformation of higher education.  This renewed vigour built on the struggles waged by erstwhile generations of students in the sector but what was significant with the Fallist Movement was that the student movement has never been so united, consistent and persistent – utilising mainly mass and social mobilisation -  in frontally engaging the democratic state on issues of higher education transformation since the dawn of democracy. The agency and activism of the movement has made a tremendous contribution to the country’s history – one worthy of capturing and formally documenting. Even more importantly, the discourse on higher education transformation continues and the Perspective Online is an important platform to deepen and take the debate forward especially from the perspective of students.

Social progress is a product of ideas. Universities as social institutions are central in the production of knowledge as well as its transmission. Universities as universal social constructs thrive in creating and expanding spaces for the sprouting of diverse and contending ideas. The Perspective Online is expected to expand the frontiers of knowledge and embed the culture of multiplicity of ideas as an important character of a university. It is my hope that the journal will be a platform for the contestation of ideas on the role of higher education in helping accelerate transformation whose principal objectives in the South African context is the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society for all as envisioned in the country’s constitution.

Please write what you like, if I were to paraphrase Biko.  The beauty of writing is that it does not happen unless someone is reading. Therefore, learning becomes the centre of the whole activity. I invite all students across our faculties to contribute to this journal. The imagination of young people is beyond comprehension especially when it is set free beyond the confines of the classroom and I have no doubt that it will be expressed in this initiative productively.

In conclusion, please see this as a building block in your crusade to evolve enduring transformative change. All phases of societal evolution have been shaped by ideas. The intellectual activity is central in pointing plausible directions towards a more humane and inclusive society. This is possible in the African context if our institutions are able to develop intellectuals that according to Ki-Zerbo (in Mkandawire, 2005) are not necessarily members of the governing or opposition parties, but  who have developed ‘ an active neutrality, a positive autonomy… as opposed to that which is inert, amorphous and mute…African intellectuals have to be at the forefront of active citizenship’.

Posted on 26 April 2019 15:00:53

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This platform serves as a reflective, discursive and connecting space between myself and the entire student community of our beloved university. Through this platform, we converse with our students and broader stakeholders on all matters of student life, wellbeing and development at Mandela University.

Luthando Jack, Dean of Students