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Why do we protest?

by Salaamedia

Nthato Muhammed Ntsoko | Opinion | Pic: News24

South Africa has experienced an unprecedented amount of violent protests in the last few months, the latest being the ransacking of the sleepy town of Coligny in the North West province and Ennerdale and Eldorado Park in Gauteng.

But what is leading to this outburst of anger? This piece opines that there is a sense of dissatisfaction over a particular entity be it government or corporate. The lack of contentment then creates a demand for rights to be rightfully served to its participants.

When we contextualise the setting in South Africa, there have been multiple elections which came with hefty promises but people have realised that this was all done to win over their votes through political hypocrisy.

Elections yield no change except in the lives of government officials. The sense of patrimonialism builds frustration in the citizens as their lives remain in a constant state of non-change.  The frustrations are channelled into anger that then leads to mass action. People start revolutions because intolerance is ignited by oppression through political, socio-economic suppression. People then organise, mobilise and unite in the name of particular cause. The answer to any injustice is revolution.

The past week has been characterised with civil disobedience and violent protest action across Gauteng and the North West. These violent protests have spiralled from one community to the next. The democratic dispensation has created class struggles across South Africa, and this is why the underprivileged communities are taking to the streets. The  events are not new phenomena to South Africa, as we have been dubbed the protest capital of the world.

According to Hellen Suzman Foundation South Africa is the most unequal country in the world as the gini co-efficient stands at 0,7. The marginalised have built most of the country that the privileged get to live in and enjoy, yet they are constantly pushed to the periphery like peasants.

Protesting is about conquering oppression and repression. The masses remain resolute to their cause of social justice. The socio-economic situations faced by the majority of population include unemployment, crime, growing patterns of substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and poor service delivery. Without protests the status quo remains. Without activism the government continues to loot. Lying in order to accumulate wealth and profit is an evil.

I personally believe that protesting is an expression of active, virile freedom that gives the poor a voice. There is power in collaborative efforts – when many voiceless people come together with one voice it is likely to be heard.  Protests are therefore legitimate because it is a method that echoes the cries of the marginalised which have been ignored for past two decades. Protest are a form of communication where human beings are not just a voter base. Protests are the highest form of human camaraderie. Protests are revolutionary and in that there is progression.The will and power of the people shall prevail. The people, united, will take over their future.

Nthato Muhammed Ntsoko is a Masters candidate in Political Science. His views do not necessarily represent those of Salaamedia.



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