The fifth week of the strike marked a moment of escalation. This communiqué provides several insights into this moment in the strike. First, white students played a very particular role in the twLF and acted in accordance and wishes of the twLF through a separate supportive body in the Strike Support Committee. Particularly in the context of a predominantly white student population on campus, mobilizing allies was key, but the strike’s ability to maintain an intentionality to act in its principle of self determination is notable.
The memo also nods to the relationships with the faculty and administration at the time. While there were some faculty allies, their scope of impact was limited and constrained by positionally in the institution, especially as most were ambivalent and sought to seek neutrality during the strike. As for administration, Chancellor Heyns had begun no negotiations with twLF. Rather, the memo indicates a large police presence and outbreaks of violence against strikers under the instruction of the administration.
But most notably, this document calls for the first meeting of the Third World College as an exercise of self-determination and re-grounding in the purpose of the struggle. This was the spirit of the twLF. Resilience and carving space in place that were created without them in the imaginary is something these communities have always known. A six-hour forum like this meeting was a reclamation of power—one that suggested that, although the University could exercise violence and the struggle would continue, this was a space and a spirit that would persist.