Free Fall recounts how and why the present education crisis has become the leading cause for black university students. Probing deep beneath the surface of the crisis, the book reveals uncomfortable truths about colonial and apartheid education, and traces the tangled web of connections between foreign and domestic business interests, the apartheid government, and the role of universities in propping up a white elite and coopting a subservient black class to their cause.
It brings to life the people and ideas that, over a century-and-a-half, have created a perfect storm for the present crisis in higher education. Malcolm Ray combines intellectual rigour with the intimacy of narrative non-fiction, introducing readers to the main protagonists since the end of slavery in 1834, through the rise of missionary education as an instrument of indoctrinating and subjugating black people, and into the apartheid era.
Beyond apartheid, the book details how policy blunders by the democratic government since 1994 have conspired with the past to fuel South Africa’s slide into increasing economic and social disarray. It is the story of the failure of the democratic government to deal with major fault lines fissuring higher education, and the circumstances that led to the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements in 2015. The book ends on a high note, answering the question: ‘What now?’ This book aims to be the beginning of the solution.