The ground vibrated with the familiar sounds of Isi Xhosa protesting chants as I took in the crowd before me. People of all walks of life stood around me. They moved together dancing and marching , being truly South African in their movements. Dancing and singing was an expression of their unhappiness. They each held posters with various messages displayed, each message was a display of their dis contempt for the progress they believe the DA hasn’t been making in the Western Cape.
The boards and posters represented promises that they believe the DA hasn’t fulfilled. As part of South Africa’s youth, and a first time voter of 2014, I took in the scene with fresh eyes and a clear, unbiased perspective. I was not biased as I have barely decided on the party I will be voting for in the coming up elections. I did not see a crowd of ANC supporters, I saw a group of people who were struggling, and felt no other option than to join in the protest to express their concerns.
The reason they were protesting didn’t make sense to me as I began asking individuals from the crowd about their reasons for joining in. I followed my first year journalism class as we all asked around to find an answer. Eventually we were steered in the direction of a man who was deemed to be of the coloured race by society of course. He wore a black sweater and ageing lines filled his friendly face.
” Sir could you please tell us the reason for the protest and march please?”
Randy Peterse was the first person at the protest who was happy enough to give us his view on the matter. His main concern was the farming land. He felt that it was being demolished in order for new houses to be built. As we went on and asked more people the other concerns raised were that people needed houses, basic facilities, basic services, Gender abuse and safety. Overall the protesters held a common torch for the Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille. Words of abuse were thrown her way in various South African tongues. I regularly checked my twitter feeds for political news and had been watching the news constantly. It was nothing compared to being in the midst of protesters projecting their unhappiness toward a political party. They all seemed to believe that the ANC would be their saviour. It was either that or they just believed that the DA just wasn’t cutting it.
I looked around the crowd and spotted an elderly woman holding up her poster proudly. I made my way over to her and I had to ask. ” Ma’am may I ask why you’re protesting?” She held her poster closer to me and in response she said, “The pension we receive isn’t enough to support ourselves and family we have to support. I am also protesting for violence against woman and children for my area Khayelitsha.” Ms. C.Mapasa was genuinely concerned about this and she walked alongside the protesters towards the Civic Centre where they would address Patricia de Lille. Standing amongst journalists and photographers from SABC, Heart FM, ETV and many other well-known media groups, was a dream come true. I scribbled notes in my little book and took as many pictures as I could with my bad quality camera, courtesy of my blackberry. Despite the protests and passionate speeches from the leaders of the protest, Patricia De Lille didn’t bother to grace the crowd with her presence. I found that this was insulting, as the crowds of people has surely travelled from far. On the other hand, if I known that crowds of angry protested were outside of my workplace I would’ve possibly have hidden too.
The march continued to parliament where Helen Zille was said to be. I feared that the protest would become violent as only a few minutes ago, Patricia De Lille had refused to see them. The singing, ranting and dancing started up again and the crowd became bigger as school children joined and workers on their lunch breaks came closer to witness the commotion. They called for Helen Zille to speak to them and she appeared with a broad smile on her face. Verbal abuse from the crowd was directed at her as the vibrant chanting began again. Zille danced and laughed as the protesters sang as she stood between a group of policeman who acted as her shield. I didn’t know whether to be impressed or insulted on their behalf. She was told not address them even though the whole point ( Apparently) was to sort out the DA’s accused faults.
As the crowd grew louder and more passionate in their protests my fellow classmates and I escaped the crowds, closed out little books and took in the event that we had just witnessed. As part of the youth of South Africa and an aspiring journalist it was quite an event to witness. I may not be part of the so called ‘ born-free’ youth but I haven’t voted yet and it will be my first time this year. This is going to be one interesting election!