Making It Visual, National Protest, South African Protests

The Impact of 21st Century Visual Dissent…

The desperate voice of dissent in the 21st century still reverts to the visual audience for its podium of expression. But just how effective or extreme is this visual form of dissent.

Brenton Geach / Gallo Images

South Africa continues to voice and embody their desperation for a change in government. The juxtapose conduct of the two recent protests in South Africa. One, a peaceful non- violent nationwide protest, which expresses decent over Zuma’s sacking of finance minister Pravin Gordhan in April 2017. This resulted in the country being downgraded to junk status. The other protest, violent fees must fall protests (#FeesMustFall) at the end of the 2016 academic year in South Africa, lead to the postponing of final examinations and the graduation to 2017.

Furthermore The “Fees must Fall” protest was conducted predominantly on the campuses throughout the country, whereas The Zuma must Go protesters saw 10000 people on the streets and roads of Cape Town. A Contemporary dance group Darkroom alongside the banner waving protestors protesting outside the houses of parliament, voiced their opinion by staging a protest dance in the town square. Thankfully the entire Zuma must GO protest went off without any damage to property, vandalism or injury to life.

Unlike the Zuma must Go protest the student “fees must fall” protests was by contrast a “war zone” with one student killed in Pretoria when a car was driven into the crowd. The riot police came under attack by groups of youths throwing stones and in one incident live shots were fired. The police retaliated with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the violent stone-throwing students. The Vice chancellor of UCT, Max Price was physically accosted twice by students when attempting to address them. Moreover lectures were violently disrupted and students were violently accosted and removed from lectures.

Consequently the rationale behind some of the student demands such as  “colonial science” is to be removed from the academic institutions and replaced with “African science” bordered on the bizarre. While both groups grievances seek a genuine “change”, the disparity of methods within the “Fees must fall” protesters and those who protested for the Zuma must GO campaign. This clearly highlights the emerging belligerent mind set and the inflexibility of current power. Certainly reason to be concerned of just how “VISUAL” the protest must become before we descend down the path to join our sister nations old trodden road to decolonisation.  

For more visuals watch the Cape Town protesters and the Fees Must Fall in action.