“Everything Must Fall” chronicles struggle in South Africa

ALLYSON KRUPA, Special to The Denisonian—“Everything Must Fall” is a riveting film of students, police, and government in an increasingly violent struggle to realize decolonized, affordable higher education in South Africa.

After universities raised tuition fees in 2015, students responded with an eruptive “Fees Must Fall” protest movement. It began at the elite Wits University and grew into a national movement, challenging traditional power structures rooted in an apartheid past.

Although students mobilized for education reform, the #feesmustfall movement raises numerous questions about creating a just and equitable society in South Africa. Within the universities, students fight against rising fees alongside outsourcing. Between student groups, tensions arise over patriarchy, homophobia, racism and classism. The documentary provides commentary by student leaders with video of police clashes, university shutdowns, and public occupations, relaying an urgent demand for reform.

It also includes perspectives on conservative and radical temperaments over the best way to implement affordable education; for instance, some feel that retreat is not an option because there is “nothing more violent than poverty.” In short, “Everything Must Fall” documents the fight to create a decolonized, free education system in South Africa. In a broader sense, it raises questions about privilege, public prioritization, and the power of higher education to foster agency in an open and democratic society.

This is a moving portrayal of student activism that inspires and educates Denison students and faculty alike. See it in Talbot 210 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 as part of the Denison’s 15th Annual Human Rights Film Festival.

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