The South African Police Services kill more Black people on average than the United States of America. We are dying here. Bakae batswadi? Se reng sechaba?
Mthokozisi Ntumba is the latest victim to the brutality of this murderous police state who responds to the poverty and suffering of millions of its population with unending state-sanctioned violence. There is incessant brutal force, victimisation, and criminalisation of many of us in our hundreds and thousands, who refuse to accept this hopeless state of affairs at the hands of a criminally neglectful neo-colonial, imperialist, and racist global arrangement, under which very few of us are spared as Black people living in South Africa.
We are rendered completely powerless and perpetual beggars in the land of our birth. When we organise in response to this powerlessness, indignity and human-made suffering, these efforts fall at the edge of apartheid-era policies that govern movement and protest. A man died at the hands of police in South Africa on Wednesday, 10 March 2021. Just like the 424 before him between March 2019 - March 2020.
Unfortunately, this country is held together by how quickly we forget. Those in power know too well that there is nearly nothing we cannot normalise. They are all too familiar with week-long trending hashtags, a burning tyre here and there, unlawful arrests—then rinse and repeat.
Tomorrow (17 March 2021) from 12 pm, artists, activists, organisers, children, youth, parents, and the broader community will convene at the scene of the crime to state our case that Mthokozisi Ntumba is one Black person too many. Since last week, protesters have continued to organize in large numbers across the country. From vigils to solidarity meetings, and more recently in Johannesburg, student activists have renamed De Beer Street to Ntumba Street. This has led to more violence visited on activists, as well as arrests under bogus colonial laws.
We remain encouraged and are grateful to all the artists and creatives who have heeded the clarion call to support the fight where it matters most - with protesters on the firing line of revolution:
Iphupho L'ka Biko; Siya Makuzeni; Tumi Mogorosi; Ntsiki Mazwai; Makhafula Vilakazi; Laliboi; Gontse Makhene; Mandla Mlangeni; Leelo Music and the Real Band; Rethabile Zilila; Kgafela le Marabele; Mmammone; Duma; Pulane Mafatshe; Creative Taboo; Azah; Itumeleng Mofokemg and Medumo Ya Afrika. The protest will also feature a dance installation offered by Masello Montana; an interactive musical experience (Sound of Life) offered by Moeketsi Kgotle and protest poetry by Tay and Eugeen Skeef.
Fine artists Ayanda Mabulu and Phooko Phooko will join us, as well as photographer Nkateko Mondhlana.
All together and in the main, this will be a space to mourn, grieve, re-organise, and refocus our collective energies and contributions to the broader national question. It is not a party-political program nor is it organised as such. It is also not a concert. Rather, this is a public action and protest organised in support of ongoing protests by students, movements and communities against police violence, austerity, and in solidarity with the family and loved ones of Mthokozisi Ntumba and all victims of state-sanctioned violence. To be accountable to the communities in which we come, and as Toni Cade Bambara instructs, to make revolution irresistible.
Please note that monetary contributions have not been, and will not be accepted. Any contradicting information is simply false. All artists will be rendering their various offerings at no cost. Anyone wishing to offer financial support to the family of Mr Ntuma is encouraged to use the following details, which belong to the wife of Mthokozisi Ntumba, Thandi Ntumba:
Bank Name: Capitec Bank
Account Number: 1267723902
Account Holder: TF Ntumba
Otherwise, let us meet on the battlefield tomorrow from 12 pm in the afternoon, on Ntumba Street. Until Babylon falls!
For more information, please contact organisers:
Lehlohonolo Peega (Wits student/artist/activist) on 074 774 4913 or Zukiswa White (Wits alumni/activist/organizer) on 081 210 9607.
#RIPMthokozisiNtumba #EndPoliceViolence #Asinamali