WATCH: Protest consciousness sweeps a new tranche of South Africans

There’ll be thousands of people on South Africa’s streets today who’ve never marched a protest step in their lives. That alone is a potent indicator of how the political pendulum has swung. The self-absorbed, greedy and myopic ruling politicians remain the same breed, obsessed with race, wealth and ideology, albeit just mostly of a different colour. So, the ‘Protesting for Newbies’ guide below is very timely, as we wait in eager anticipation to see just how big this anti-Zuptoid State Capture protest will be. That the numbers of our compatriots who enter the ranks of public activism will swell is in no doubt. The only question that remains is whether sufficient tear-gas, rubber-bullet and shot-gun-pellet-hardened veterans are of a similar world-view as the newbies on the protest block. We pray their induction won’t be similar to the MDM stalwarts and that they’ll return home buoyed by being part of something bigger than themselves. But talk to the MDM-ers – they’ll tell you what bullets and teargas can do to spurn protest on to greater heights. One can only hope it’s a price newbies don’t have to pay, though this is no time for the faint-hearted. There’s too much at stake. Do yourself a favour; read the guide. No harm in going prepared. – Chris Bateman.

Protesting for newbies: A how-to guide

By Jenna Etheridge, News24

Paramedics protest over attacks against their colleagues (Jenni Evans, Cape Town – When protesters who marched to Parliament last week over the state of the country’s politics began singing Kumbaya my Lord, Twitter users erupted with laughter, disbelief and even anger. (See more here)

Many questioned why people were not familiar with the songs commonly sung at protest gatherings. Others believed it was embarrassing to not know how to protest.

We’re not judging. You may have had a lot of questions about what to bring or how to sing.

One of the first things to remember is that protests are not about selfies or a “fun day out”.

People generally take to the streets to voice their frustration and anger about something affecting their lives. With many other options exhausted, they are trying to make their voices heard.

With several protests planned for the days ahead, here is a general guide to what you need to know.

Is it legal to protest peacefully?

Yes, despite what one tweet from the government suggested. It stated: “When citizens take to the streets illegally, we often witness violence, destruction of property and lawlessness” and “illegal protests do not possess the characteristics of strengthening democracy”.

The Constitution says that everyone has the right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions. No one may be armed, wear clothing that makes them look like the police or army officials, block entrances to emergency services buildings, or incite violence or hatred.

The Regulation of Gatherings Act states that you must exercise your right peacefully with due regard to the rights of others. In terms of the act, the convener of the protest must notify the municipality, so it knows how many people will be there and they can organise metro police and other services to help.

Police are present to help with crowd control and should only act if there is a criminal offence or threat to public safety. They do not have the right to disperse a protest just because no notice was given. That said, you can still be arrested if you fail to follow a lawful police order.

What should I bring?

– Comfortable shoes for walking
– Water
– Snacks (for yourself and to share)
– Sunblock
– A poster with a well-thought out message
– An open mind to understand others
– Raincoat
– Forms of identification
– A scarf to wet and wrap around your face should police use pepper spray or tear gas to disperse the crowd

What do I sing?

We’re sure you have no problem figuring out the message you wish to shout out or chant. When it comes to singing though, there is no excuse not to know popular songs when technology, friends and colleagues are at your disposal.

Many songs of hope and struggle that were used successfully to unite people during apartheid continue to be sung today. As media studies researcher and journalist Sisanda Nkoala stated in her paper on struggle songs, the isiXhosa and isiZulu lyrics were deliberately chosen because of their political and linguistic significance.

A fist raised in the air with the word “Amandla” requires you to respond with “Awethu” or “Ngawethu!”

It is a rallying cry that means “power to the people”. Sometimes it means you need to be quiet so someone can speak or give an instruction.

Here is a nifty video by YouTube user ZoZoZu that explains 12 struggle songs with lyrics and translations:


`Zuma Must Go’ Protesters Demand South African President Quit

By Paul Vecchiatto and Matthew Hill

Bloomberg – Tens of thousands of protesters marched in South Africa to demand that President Jacob Zuma resign after he fired the finance minister and reshuffled the cabinet.

Marchers chanting “Zuma must go” in Pretoria, the capital, walked to the Union Buildings, the official seat of government, while there were sporadic clashes between Zuma supporters and police in Johannesburg, eCNA television reported Friday. Thousands of people faced riot police outside the chained gates of parliament in Cape Town.

Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and make 19 other changes to his administration on March 31 drew widespread criticism, prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation’s credit rating to junk and weakened the rand.

The protests were called by Save South Africa, which has been campaigning for better government, and are backed by the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and civil rights groups. A Magistrates court on Thursday overturned a police ban on a planned “people’s march” to government headquarters in Pretoria, the capital. The presidency said it didn’t oppose the demonstrations.

Zuma, 74, will face a no-confidence motion in parliament on April 18 sponsored by opposition parties. The ruling African National Congress said its members won’t vote against the president, whose decision to change the cabinet was criticized by three senior members of the party, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma, who’s due to step down as ANC leader in December and as the nation’s president in 2019, has survived a series of corruption scandals and presided over the party’s worst-electoral performance since the end of apartheid in 1994 in municipal elections in August.

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