Johannesburg, South Africa – It has already proven to be a hollow victory. For the thousands of students who gathered outside President Jacob Zuma’s Pretoria offices on Friday, there was no spontaneous outburst of celebration. There was hardly even an announcement of victory. It was to the media that Zuma announced that the demand for an embargo on fee increases for the 2016 academic year would be heeded.
By that time the crowd had already thinned. Police had fired stun grenades and pepper spray against sections of protesters that had forced its way through barricades. And even though the majority of the crowd called for a peaceful protest, thousands were forced to disperse in the ensuing chaos.
Yet for those who remained, there was no singular moment of euphoria that could be captured for posterity. The South African Police Services shot tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd shortly after the announcement, leaving many questioning the motivation behind the police tactics.