Opinion: Why the Joburg protest against President Jacob Zuma matters

 

Chantelle Fourie writes:

Friday 7 April was a long day. From 10am I was snapping away at people – black, white, coloured, Indian and people with disabilities gathering at the Westgate Transport Hub in downtown Joburg.

Music was blaring, thrashing my eardrums. I met people from all walks of life – and all had one thing to say … Zuma Must Fall!

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, infamously removed Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister, sending the rand off the cliff, along with the country’s credit rating. Standard and Poor’s downgraded South Africa to #junkstatus shortly after, and Fitch followed suit.

Listening to 702 on my way there, a few callers said that they opposed Zuma’s actions and wanted him to be removed, but felt that the white Democratic Alliance supporters could rather protest without them. One caller said that white people do not support black people when they protest against poor service delivery and asked why they should support them now?

It is true that many of the marchers present on 7 April called this their first march, but in my opinion, the reason for marching was greater than race today. It was about South Africa, and South Africans.

True to this, after the march, protesters I spoke with, said they felt a sense of unity and hope. This march was mainly made up of people who had never taken to the streets before, unlike so many South Africans did when they fought for freedom pre-1994, and learned to appreciate what it takes to do that.

Yes, struggle songs did not fill the streets of Joburg but, as a start toward really uniting people, the march did its job.

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