Theme 5: Projecting the movement into the future
This theme is focused on the critical analysis and interpretation of the overall role, character and significance of the Fallist movement and its various campaigns in democratic South Africa. An empirical part of this work also deals with the impact of the movement on the personal, academic, political and professional trajectory of student activists and its impact on the psychological well-being of former student activists and ordinary students.
Understanding the impact of the movement on the psychological well-being of students
The psychological impact of the movement on students has received heightened attention after increasing reports of drop-outs due to psychological stress and depression, as well as reports of increasing numbers of student suicides. University departments of student affairs have monitored the development for years and established a number of interventions. A pilot interview with the founder of “Next Chapter” at UFS was conducted in 2018 to consider a special project. (“Next Chapter” is a student-led mental health self-help group started by a former student leader who was deeply traumatised by post-ShimlaPark violence at UFS.) In addition, the Journal of Student Affairs in Africa (Vol. 6 Issue 2: “Well-being and quality services”) recently focused in parts on student well-being.
Dr Angelina Wilson Fadiji is a psychological well-being specialist and post-doctoral fellow in the HSRC ESD programme. Ms Keamo Morwe is a lecturer and social worker at the University of Venda (and is currently completing her PhD on the culture of violence in student protests). Both have partnered with the project and developed an action research project focused on understanding student well-being in the aftermath of the student movement and developing student affairs interventions for future reference.