AfriForum might frame it as an end to endless squabbling of student politics. But students should see it as a call to end debate and democratic dialogue about the direction of politics and policy at UP.

If we heed the call to end politics, we give in to the politics of one organisation and their way of thinking about things – this effectively means that our voices and opinions are excluded.

My argument may seem shrill and some will simply shrug it off, but there’s no other way to understand this call to end politics. It is a call to end the open contestation of ideas and opinions by students.

Politics is centred on a contestation of opposing views. Without this competition between competing voices – let’s say, those for transformation and those against – there is no democracy. Or, at least, no vibrant democracy.

We need more democracy. Not less. And we need to remember that the very same organisation promoting an end to vibrant democracy on campus is relying on our votes to push their agenda. Their agenda is an act of politics, and their participation in campus elections is an act of politics.

If we accept the death of politics on campus we accept the death of our individual voices on campus, and we give in to the agenda put forward by a select few students – who are political, but want to pretend otherwise.

Beyond suggesting an end to the open contestation of ideas on campus, AfriForum is also discouraging young South Africans from participating in politics beyond the campus gates. In a country where all youth – black and white – are struggling to find employment and make a life for themselves, promoting a message that politics should be avoided is irresponsible and dangerous. It is an invitation for students to merely accept the way things are. Instead of encouraging Tuks students to make a difference through participation in student (and national) politics, the call to end politics is a call to remove one’s self from the national democratic debate.

On 3 September students must put vote for politics and democracy, not against it. This vote should serve to empower us, not disempower us.

On 3 September students can put an end to the irresponsible politics of “Stop Politiek”, and that is the beauty of democracy.

Thorne Godinho

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