The Great Unrest

Reading intellectual pieces on how the poor will one day revolt and living to see it, are two different things. I am sad, I am heartbroken, and I am scared. These are the words a friend used to describe her current state of mind. I share the same sentiments. I know many others do, too.

South Africa’s racial inequality is well known and often titled with the first prize of being the most unequal society in the world, where the largely black poor are getting poorer by the day and the mostly white rich are getting richer by the day. Add to that a democratically elected Black government that has failed to put together plans to lift Black people out of the shame of poverty and into the dignity of economic participation, and you have yourself a perfect ticking time bomb waiting for a slight trigger to explode.

The arrest of former president Jacob Zuma triggered an event that long ceased being about the support of his release and evolved into a beastly sight to behold.

The reports and analysis have been nuanced and paint multiple pictures of this complex country. A culmination of bad governance, seemingly never-ending lockdown regulations that put a strain on an already strained society found the perfect flint in Jacob Zuma to spark the flame.

Let me paint a picture of this deep inequality. When you off-ramp from the N14 coming from Pretoria and drive along the R511 famously known as William Nicol, you will drive past Diepsloot; a township formed not in the apartheid years but under the government of the ANC in the late nighties as a temporary site for people moved from the riverbanks of the Jukskei river in Alexandra and others moved from Honeydew in Randburg. This temporary site still has an informal settlement called Number 1. As you drive past Diepsloot you will see Number 1, a maze of shacks and bucket toilets and JoJo tanks for water.

Less than 5 kilometers further down William Nicol sits the leafy suburb of Dainfern, where the residents live in beautiful homes with more rooms than the people down the road can ever dream of. Dainfern is where the real Johannesburg North starts, not Diepsloot, a temporary site by the ruling government.

Question: how do you expect anyone living in Diepsloot not to barricade William Nicol in protest and demand basic services like water and flashing toilets from the government they voted into power?

A black government has failed its people. This government has failed us and our ancestors. The bones of our ancients are not resting well at the current state of affairs. There are many spiritual factors at play here, too. First of all, South Africa is not a name. We know from African spirituality that a name is a very important aspect in a person’s (or place) life, and the wrong name can cause trouble and unrest since there is a disconnect on a spiritual level. When it comes to a country, these effects would be multiplied on a larger scale. And so, to correct or remedy the disconnect, the land must be rightly renamed Azania that is who she is.

The riots and looting that affected most of KZN and parts of Gauteng took one of the four shopping centers in Diepsloot as a casualty. This was not as bad as other areas, such as Soweto which was most massively hit by protesting and looting.

The fact that people died for a democratic South Africa and the economic emancipation that should have come with it, is a hard pill to swallow. The events of that dreadful week stood as a mirror to those whom we trusted to take us to the promised land. The hope of having them see themselves reflected back in the mirror cannot be held, politics is a dirty game that has stripped our leaders of their souls and spirits. For years they have pillaged government coffers with gay abandon. For years they have self-enriched at the cost of all citizens. Especially Black citizens whose dreams and ambitions they carry in their DNA.

All is not gloom and doom. A lot of change is on the way. Ancestors are patient; they will wait patiently for the right things to be done. So how do we start fixing the situation?

Secondly, all the lives lost for liberation must be rested well and appeased. Who shall lead Azania? It is the people, it has always been the people.

It’s unfortunate that Azania shall inherit the complex socio-economic problems of the current government and which it inherited from the apartheid government. A lot of work will await Azanians in innovating solutions for the complex issues she will be faced with and for the healing of the bleeding land.

Disclaimer: I am merely a conduit of a message that is not being heard for the first time but will be taken seriously for the first time in a long time.

Thokozani, Lesedi le Kganya bana beso!