July 24 2009 – Afrikaners can’t believe their eyes. This picture taken by Shayne Robinson of The Star newspaper, today has been making the rapid rounds of many hundreds of Afrikaans-language blogs inside and outside the country… and many bloggers comment that they believe it’s a hoax, It shows protestors holding handwritten protest signs with the words:
- “AWB was better than ANC’, and “We vote for better life, not for worse.We live like pigs’
Afrikaner language-rights leader Dr Dan Roodt, publishing the picture on his blog, writes that this is the most inexplicable protest poster he’s seen.
Indeed, many journalists reporting on the Thokoza unrests – where this photograph above was taken by Shayne Robinson of The Star in Johannesburg, must have realised that this was the ultimate insult to the ANC-leadership: black voters in Thokoza had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the presidency of Jacob Zuma, yet there they were just months later -- stating that South African blacks would be better-off under the rabidly white rightwingers in the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging than they now are under ANC-rule.
Of course it’s irrelevant that the AWB never ruled the country... this sign expresses a very intense and genuine anger felt by these black voters.
- Over the past three elections, these many millions of black voters have repeatedly been promised a golden future which included jobs, free housing, free electricity, lower food-prices, better schools… Instead, they are still ‘living like pigs’, as the other poster next to it, states so clearly.
- Also note the large number of weapons in the hands of these protestors, from bricks to heavy metal rods.
AS noted earlier, this photograph was taken by Shayne Robinson of The Star in Johannesburg, (cell 27767318361, w 27116332231 ) http://mybroadband.co.za/photos/showphoto.php/photo/11619. It’s unclear whether his own newspaper published this picture, judging from its own published pages reporting the story (left), they may not have done.
Reuters journalist Michael Georgy reported from the scene that the protesters hurled stones at police, who fired back teargas and rubber bullets (on Wednesday July 22 2009) -- “after thousands marched in a show of anger at poor services and a lack of jobs.” This journalist did not however note the contents of this poster, but does note:
- “While anger was largely directed at local officials, there was also unhappiness with the government of the ruling African National Congress, which has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994. "This government is rotten to the core," said Bongani Mazibuko, unemployed for years…
“They have intensified uncertainty after a wave of strikes in Africa's biggest economy”,” Reuters comments. “The unrest, with scenes reminiscent of violence against foreigners last year that killed 62 people, also undermined South Africa's hope of showing a positive image with less than a year to go before the soccer World Cup..’
Reuters wrote that protesters pelted cars with stones and blocked a highway near Johannesburg. At Siyathemba township, 90 km (55 miles) southeast of the city, other protesters were also demanding jobs and better schools, clashing with police and threatening the local mayor. And matters are going to get even worse: municipal workers now are also threatening to strike – which will make ‘service delivery’ come to a dead-halt.
- Farm invasions:
- “Protests turned violent for a second day in Johannesburg's Thokoza township, where residents are demanding better housing and services. Thirty-five residents are due to appear in court. Residents in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, occupied the (state-owned Pielie Farm) - in invasions similar of those in neighbouring Zimbabwe. They were protesting at being evicted from their temporary settlement.”
The Guardian also writes from the UK:
- “Fifteen years after the ANC won its first election, more than 1million South Africans still live in shacks, many without access to electricity or running water. The gap between rich and poor is also growing. Nearly 3m houses have been built, but the allocation has been prone to nepotism and corruption.”
Eljah Ngobese, reporting from Thokoza for The Citizen, came closest to reporting about the “AWB better than ANC’ poster, quoting residents as telling him:
- "We are tired of empty promises. All this government want from us is a vote, nothing else. They are treating us as monkeys. How can they shoot us while we are protesting for our rights?"
Thokoza protests - with video:
Afrikaans-language rights campaigner: