Theorising the #MustFall Student Movements in Contemporary South African Higher Education: A Social Justice Perspective

Mlamuli Nkosingphile Hlatshwayo, Kehdinga George Fomunyam


A significant amount of literature on student movement within the South African Higher Education (SAHE) landscape has often been characterised by two limitations. Firstly, a significant amount of this literature is found in un‑academic and non‑peer‑reviewed sources, such as social media, online newspapers, blog posts and other platforms. Secondly, some of this literature is often characterised by an absence of theory in offering us critical analysis at the emergent conditions of the student movement as a phenomenon within the SAHE. In this article, we respond to the above gaps by contributing to the scholarly development and critical analysis of the student movement in SAHE. In order to respond to the above two gaps, we firstly provide a brief historical and contextual environment that has contributed
to the emergence of the student movement phenomenon in SAHE. Secondly, we introduce Nancy Fraser’s social justice perspective, in offering us the theoretical and conceptual tools we need to look at the struggles and challenges that confront student movements, focusing in particular on the challenges that frustrate them in relating and interacting as peers on an equal footing in society. Using Fraser’s
social justice framework to look at the #MustFall movements will allow us to better understand them as complex phenomena within the SAHE and allow us to properly understand their emergence.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2307-6267 (online), ISSN 2311-1771 (print)

The work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

JSAA is published by the JSAA Editors in collaboration with Stellenbosch University and African Sun Media. Since 2017, JSAA is DHET-accredited in South Africa (see: accreditation letter). 

JSAA is indexed by: AJOL, DOAJ, ERIC, Proquest, BASE, WorldCat Libraries and Google Scholar, and registered in Sherpa/Romeo. Scopus and other indexing service subscriptions are currently being pursued. 

JSAA is a Diamond Journal, available open access from Stellenbosch University at as well as from and from full-text partner sites at AJOL, DOAJ and ERIC (and via google scholar).