This morning my rush to the city centre for the last bit of Christmas shopping quickly changed course as I saw the ‘writing’ on the wall. I knew full well that the #ZumaMustFall campaign was happening today. Even got a bit annoyed when we battled to find parking. But when I walked past eager participants and heard the people’s cries I realized that I am one of those people and those are my cries too. I am a South African citizen and although I steer away from politics and campaigns, decisions and mismanagement (for lack of a better word) affects me too.
I have never marched or joined a protest in my life, yet I found myself in the throng of protesters. All uniting against the current state of affairs. It didn’t take me long to join and start clapping to the #ZumaMustFall chant. It was a peaceful and respectful event, even though everyone was filled with emotion. No intimidation and no worries about the police charging in or even my car being vandalized at any given time because it was parked just off Plein street.
“Mom, why are there mostly white people here?” My son asked as we walked in the crowd. “Well my boy, because many people are too pessimistic to even bother. Because, people have lost hope and they feel that their voices don’t matter. Because, standing up for what you believe in is stuff only other people do. Because, who wants to get up early and walk up and down with no guarantees.” Was but a few reasons I gave my son as we walked. Just to be clear, there were plenty of people of colour present. I do recall seeing some gold dust, turquoise, yellow and green people walking around 😉 Oh, and off course I was there too.
As I spoke I thought of many of the other reasons I couldn’t share with my impressionable first born. One of which goes hand in hand with the fact that many people don’t even know what day it is today besides that it’s public holiday. Another reason would be that it’s easier to protest against statues of people long gone than it is to stand up to real live people. People who are abusing their privileges while the rest of the country suffers. Exploiting ordinary citizens so that they may live large. A little village as a home is not a need, it’s a want. Driving fancy cars is not a need either. Neither is the fancy accommodation politicians reside in when attending whatever meetings in different cities. All this while schooling, health facilities and basic safety needs are not being met. Tearing down a statue will not ensure any of these needs are met and demanding a president steps down does not guarantee any of this either but it’s a step in the right direction. Yet the majority choose to fight dead people. But hey, I’m not judging.
Sure I know that walking the talk today may not make a huge difference. And yes I get that if and when Zuma does fall some other guy will spring up and possibly do worse damage. But imagine the possibilities if everyone were to unite. White privilege and BEE aside… Imagine the possibilities of a country where politicians don’t get richer by lining their pockets and the poor don’t get poorer; because, well, politicians line their pockets. Where the only race that matters is the human race.
We as the people of the country give the power. Why can’t we take it away too?