Activists take long walk to seat of power

Activists Katlego Lekaba, left, Dikago Pule and Tumelo Gaegake were part of a group of students who walked 310km from Mahikeng in North West to Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Activists Katlego Lekaba, left, Dikago Pule and Tumelo Gaegake were part of a group of students who walked 310km from Mahikeng in North West to Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

With swollen feet, a group of nine student activists from North West arrived at Union Buildings on Wednesday after their 310km walk.

Former North West University SRC president Dikago Pule said they travelled to Pretoria to deliver memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

They are demanding that Ramaphosa pardon all #FeesMustFall activists who have been charged.

The group started their journey in Mahikeng on Monday last week. There were initially 16 of them but only nine made it to the Union Buildings after others gave up after 20km.

A visibly exhausted Pule said it was not easy as they did not have money and they depended on donors.

"We walked for 50km a day and we would sleep under the bridges, petrol stations or water pipes along the way. We used sanitary pads to avoid blisters [in our feet] and I must say that truly worked for us.

"There were times when we would have one loaf of bread for the whole day. However, there were generous people who donated money, data and airtime to us," Pule said.

A good Samaritan booked them a B&B in Akasia, Pretoria.

Pule said they decided to walk to the seat of power after they had sent letters to the ministry of justice and the president's office without getting any responses. "The people who are being dragged to the courts of law were fighting for a genuine cause.

"All we want is to restore the dignity of a black child. The ongoing court cases are prejudicial to the activists as they happen to affect their studies and also impact negatively unto their families who have to pay for legal costs.

"We therefore request the president to advocate for all students who were suspended and expelled to be brought back to the system and continue with their studies."

X