Tag Archives: South Africa

Police Violence South Africa

It has been a while since my last post, as I have been doing linguistic research, but recent South African police violence has inspired me to leave my books and write a bit.

What happened was apparently 8 South African police officers cuffed a man (a Mozambican taxi driver) to their car and dragged him through a busy street, causing extensive injuries, which the man then died from. The ordeal was caught on film, and there were many witnesses, so now there is a bit of a public outcry; the President has even condemned the act and called it “disturbing“. Anyone who knows the past in this country can surely see the congruences with the old Apartheid regime’s tactics and their treatment of civilians. This is noteworthy, because the last time these images were resurrected was at the Marikana Platinum mine massacre of 2012.

The “Marikana Massacre”, as it was labeled, faded from public discourse incredibly fast, and as far as I know, nobody has been held responsible as of yet. The eight men accused here will probably not find the same fortune, I believe, as they were on regular cop duty, not protecting the interests of a British mining company. I say this because their actions have earned them a place in public discourse, which will over time naturally decide on their guilt. The other interested parties, such as the SAPF or the SA government, have only so much (and this is not very much) influence on this discourse. This situation can then be compared with the Marikana Massacre one, where very well connected parties, such as the Lonmin mining company (and all other international companies that own mines in Africa who could by affected by a change in the status quo), with ties to multinational media outlets, can actively force this sort of dialogue out of international discourse, blur opinion on the matter, or create an illusion of debate.

From a linguistic standpoint, I would say that this problem could find the beginnings of a solution in changing the South African school syllabus to included things like Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, to teach our youth about the danger to us all that is involved in treating people like this, instead of focusing on stories of Shakespearean castles which are so far out of context, and presented in such an inaccessible language for second and third language speakers, that they are barely imaginable.

Police drag man handcuffed to bakkie.

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Lonmin Massacre

Massacre at platinum mine in South Africa

Massacre at platinum mine in South Africa leaves 34 dead.

The news has been going wild lately, but yesterday was a bad one.  I was hoping to write an article on Julian Assange and his situation in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but that story was completely eclipsed (for me) by the massacre that happened in my own country.

There seems to me to be a shocking lack of coverage on the situation within the local media, with me having to get the news from the New York Daily News website.  Today I switched on the radio for the first time in ages, but they did not mention it there.  Then I ran the treadmill at Virgin Active, thinking they would have surely switched from Sky to a local news station, but they hadn’t, and I don’t think Sky was too interested.  This was to me both weird and alarming; we are not like the US, our cops haven’t shot at innocent civilians like this since Sharpville (March 1960), which helped usher in a new national government and mindset.  The difference is that then it was white police shooting at black protesters, now we have black police killing black protesters.  I think that this might help show people that perhaps race had very little to do with it; that nervous trained policemen, policing a unruly crowd with live ammunition, may be prone to f*ck-ups.  In my mind, the cops who started both these shootings were not thinking to themselves “Yeah, white supremacy” or “Kill the miners”, but were rather thinking “Sh*t this situation is scary”.  But I’m an optimist.
What South Africans need to understand is that their rage is correct, but they have the bogeyman all wrong.  These miners have called for this police attention by way of inter-union violence.  They dance and shout, and spit and fight between each other, turning their aggression on the police when they get in the way, but ignore the real villain.  They are angry at the unions, they are angry at the government, angry with the police, but what about the owners?  Now we have a bunch of SA police, killing a bunch of SA miners, who are fighting with each other (and killing) over compensation and union issues, while the platinum mine’s directors sit at home in the UK.

For any South Africans looking for a solution, here it is for you: Nationalize the damn precious stones and metals.  South African platinum, mined by South African labourers, should be filling government coffers to be used for public projects, and not profiting some British corporation.  Lonmin (the name of the corporation that operates the mine), can get together with the Openheimers, the De Beers, the Rhodes, the Kissingers, and any other family who plays Monopoly for a living, and they can all get f*cked.  Ask yourself why, if SA provides over 80% of the worlds platinum, we still have to fight over increasing salaries for workers.  The people who go into the earth to harvest her bounties, should benefit in some way from the profits generated – not just given enough to live on like a slave.  Let it never  again be whispered in some dark British pub, that South Africa is a place to go to exploit the working class and rape the environment; take back what is rightfully ours.  Corporations can be reimbursed however much the morals and ethics seen in their actions are deemed worth. If you do this you will soon see all other exploiters run and hide, and the corrupt politicians would be wise to join them.

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South Africa you

As anyone following this blog would know, I am a rather big fan of Russia Today.  Essentially I am suspicious of the news, unless I hear it via RT.  Turning to their site today, i was shocked to find my marginalized little country rocking their top stories. A South African politician (Humphrey Mmemezi – the minister of  housing in Gauteng) apparently bought a ten grand painting (from a buddy of his, I bet) with state funds.  Trying to do it all undercover, but failing hard SA-style, he got another buddy, the operator of a McD’s, to charge his government-issued credit card for the total – 256 BigMac MacMeals worth – who must have then paid the artist…  Shame, I almost feel sorry for the guy;  Trying so hard, at such a minor con.  If you compare this little spot of corruption, to say ‘the arms deal’, you’ll see that this guy is small fry.  I mean: buying the state a painting it didn’t need (maybe he thought he’d keep it, but it is their’s now) with the state’s money, is nothing compared to buying us a pack of choppers and a sub that we’ll never use (and most likely can’t).

LdS

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