President Cyril Ramaphosa called the violent looting and protests that occurred, primarily in Kwa Zulu Natal and Gauteng, an insurrection.
An insurrection is a rise against government authority or a revolt.
An example of an insurrection is a rebel protest against a dictatorship; A rising against established authority; a rebellion; a revolt.
I’m not entirely sure that what happened in the two Provinces above fit the description of an insurrection similar to the events at Capitol Hill in the States in January of this year.
What I am sure about is that for the longest time, people, especially Black and Brown people of this country have been asking, begging, pleading, protesting and marching to highlight the hardships they have been experiencing.
Despite the many protests across the country, the poor people have been largely ignored.
There have been cries of desperation for someone in authority to listen to them and come to their aid.
There have been queues of people standing, hungry, waiting in line for food parcels, some of which were stolen by people in authority.
There have been countless evictions during lockdown that was meant to be illegal but happened anyway.
There have been deaths of innocent people at the hands of those in authority tasked only to assist during the lockdown.
There have been pensioners sprayed with water cannons by authorities for failing to adhere to “social distancing.”
There have been countless incidences across the country of homeless people being abused and treated by authorities as if their lives are meaningless.
There have been people scrounging for food in rubbish bins.
There have been unprecedented job losses with companies shutting down and people not being paid the monies they were promised both by Government and private companies.
People have committed suicide, often unable to cope with what is and has been happening, and the cherry on the top is Covid19- a virus that seems to mutate whenever we close our eyes and whose variants seem endless.
The events have been so much for people to deal with physically and financially, and we haven’t even delved into the psychological trauma of all of the above, instead, we are told to soldier on as if we are all part of the military and for months most people did.
There is no excuse for looting, people say, but how much longer can people hold on, feeling as if the rope they are holding onto is slipping out of their weary hands?
People have lost their lives during the lockdown, including the past few days, and it’s beyond tragic.
It could have been avoided not by the threat of shutting down social media or blocking what people are saying, but by sifting through what some of them are saying, and listening to them, engaging with them, establishing dialogues with them.
This “insurrection,” was a culmination of all the protests, talks, marches and so on, that the Government failed to take note of because among the violence were people stealing food to feed their families, and if the food was more than a loaf of bread, just maybe it was done so they wouldn’t have to worry about food for a few days.
We need to separate those people from opportunists and the violence and see this for what it was; people, poor people, desperate for someone in authority to hear them, to heed their cries for help.
Violence, Racism, Inequality and Unemployment needs to be addressed with more than just words from a lectern on a Sunday evening. There is a need to be proactive, not reactive and an urgency to address and assist people that are dying because they have no hope.
The insurrection was a resurrection of something much bigger than the incarceration of an ex-President.
(I do not condone what occurred. I ask that the people that read this open their hearts and minds and see peoples humanity. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush. See the bigger picture)
Black Lives Matter!