Friday the 5th of March

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Catholic students join South African protests; chaplain shot in face

As students and police clash at South African universities, with many campuses closed because of protests against fee increases, Catholic students called on the government to increase its education budget.

‘Higher education in South Africa is chronically underfunded,’ the Johannesburg-based Association of Catholic Tertiary Students said in a statement, noting that ‘the country spends far less on this sector than many other developing countries’.

The high cost of university education, unaffordable for most black South Africans, has become a symbol of the racial inequalities that remain more than two decades after the end of apartheid.

In a day of violent clashes between students and security forces at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on 10th October, a priest was struck in the mouth by a rubber bullet fired by police.

Jesuit Fr Graham Pugin, university chaplain, was urging an end to the violence while standing outside his parish church, where protesting students were taking shelter when he was shot. He was treated at a local hospital and released.

Picture: Students from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, march during a protest on 5th October demanding free tertiary education. As students and police clash at South African universities, with many campuses closed through protests against fee increases, Catholic students called on the government to increase its education budget. (CNS photo/Mike Hutchings, Reuters).