The ‘People’s’ March and the ‘Invisible’ Racial Divide

by: Carlos Ncube

Who are the ‘People’ in the People’s March

The call for South Africans to unite and March against President Jacob Zuma on Friday 7 March is a legitimate one. Through this call for unity however, it has become clear that there is a portion of South Africans, particularly white, who only care about social issues when it impacts them directly through the weakening of the rand.

This may be a generalization but looking back at the #FeesMustFall protests, a majority of the black student body involved in the protests were referred to as hooligans but what stands out is that their struggle, to this day is not recognized as a national Crisis.

The struggle of the black child is not recognized by the people who live outside poverty, those who can afford to pay the registration fee, when they have been accepted in to university and they don’t have to beg for financial aid and prove that they need financial assistance when it is abundantly clear that they are suffering.

Students were seen as unreasonable for shutting down campuses. but now the same Modus Operandi is being used. in a report by ENCA it was said that “Civil society organisations on Wednesday said they have pleaded with companies not to penalise employees who decide to join one of the marches calling for the removalof president Jacob Zuma on Friday”. such remarks from the ‘angry black youth’ would be seen as radical and warrant an interdict.

What to Consider: The Racial Divide in the March

There have been multiple claims that the march is a non-racial one. true as this may be, it is not the whole picture. While the rich and the white people only want to remove the President of the Republic, the poor black population still faces of mob of troubles; they still have to go back home to shacks, they have to go back home to households that are only maintained by social grants. they still have to go back and beg for money so that they can put their children through school.

The march is uniting people through discontent for President Jacob Zuma. The problem is that beyond the need to remove president Jacob Zuma, here will be no conversation about the inequality manufactured by capitalism. It would be ignorant and arrogant to believe that the poor are poor because of the Zuma Administration – The Apartheid government manufactured the poverty of the majority.

The political motivation of this mobilization of the people is blind to the social issues that face the black population outside of politics. Businesses also contribute to the abject conditions black people live in. So, claiming that the march is non-racial when there is a clear divide in the end goal between Blacks, Whites, Indians and Coloureds, is not progressive.

If the Peoples  March is to be successful, poverty and other social issues should be discussed at a corporate level. it should not only be on a political scale. The conversation should not end with just wanting to remove the president.

“poverty makes people do reckless things, but rich people do worse to protect their bling”

– Immortal Technique



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