Police clashing, riots, brutality, teargas, stun grenades and tears are some of the words that make up #FeesMustFall headlines.
Students have been arrested and detained while others are left to plan for the next day or come up with strategies on how to support each other during the bail hearings and protests.
For some, it is easy to pick themselves up and move on BUT for most of the students, society leaves them to deal with their internal struggles by themselves.
A student from University of Cape Town (UCT), Somila Dondashe 21, who’s studying towards a Bachelor in Social Science, is one of the passionate students who believe in the movement of Education for all.
Source: Instagram/ dondashe_miller
Speaking to The Young Independents, Dondashe reveals that the movement affects her because she has invested all her emotions and energy into the cause. The fight for being heard and being recognised by those in power every single day without any response leads to her feeling drained and dejected.
“It was draining having to reiterate to people why the movement was so important and it was depressing to be in a constant state of anger and resistance all the time,” said Dondashe.
Like other students who had been protesting and running away from the police Dondashe said “Everyday was emotionally taxing” and unfortunately she did not do well in handling her trauma.
“I did not practice any self-care during this time as I was always at the protests, whether I felt drained or not,” she added.
While the movement gained international attention, UCT students looked for professional aid to assist with the emotional and psychological damage of the movement.
However, during Dondashe’s search for help, she realised that there was no help for her.
Dondashe also noticed that all psychologists available to her were white.She explains that the psychological assistance came with a narrative that is solely from the lived white experience and perspective.
“I honestly had no interest in explaining my black pain to a white person.”
Despite the trauma of it all, there were times where I appreciated the space because we got a chance to express grievances that we had kept in for so long.
While recounting the various activities that lead to her breaking point she mentioned the day where students went to parliament and were met with stun grenades.
“I think that day was my breaking point, the day I realised I am actually not coping emotionally with all of this.”
When it comes to dealing with the trauma, I have decided to stay away from the protest because I can’t bare the pain of seeing my fellow black people being victimised.
It would really help if we had accessibility of black psychologists, people who will understand the pain we speak of when we refer to “black pain”.
The Young Independents invites all black psychologists who are willing to come forward and help our fellow black students deal with “black pain.”
We also invite you to engage and extend this discussion.