“I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country... All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.” Oscar Romero
Whatever the cause, Zuma’s incarceration has laid bare the underlying fault-lines of desperation anger, hunger and hopelessness that divide the majority of SA citizens from the affluent few. These divisions were engineered by man. And while they deepened in the post democratic era, they predate even Apartheid, originating in the colonial era. And their sole basis was racial oppression, starting with the hut taxes.
The first ‘Hut Tax’ was a proxy for installing capitalism, with the demographic majority occupying, both structurally and by legislation, the lowest rungs of the system. By this means, an unbroken chain has been maintained to the present. This is why most of the black majority has been confined to the periphery of economic activity, mostly as labourers. During the height of this week’s riots, many reasonable voices called for a restoration of peace and the rule of law.
Restoring order and the rule of law would, however, fall short of the true goal, that of setting the nation on a course of future lawful behaviour, prosperity, and peace. On the contrary, restoring the status quo ante, if not accompanied by fundamental changes to the very structure of our economy, will only guarantee more unrest, looting, desperation and hopelessness. That, at least should be one of the lessons learned from the recent widespread burning and looting.
The past week has seen us go through several steep learning curves as South Africans, and each of us will assign a personal hierarchy to these lessons. On the one hand, if these waves of lawlessness were a declaration of war, then the protagonists thereof have now learned how to modify and refine their strategy to avoid the countermeasures being put in place, to maximize their return on future input.
For the rest of us, including our rulers, there is a lesson of the greatest importance to take home from the past week’s turmoil. It is that the economic order bequeathed to South Africa in the 18th century has to be demolished and replaced with a new, inclusive one. And without delay.
Because of a resurgence of Covid-19 infections countrywide, it is still crucial to avoid being either the transmitter or recipient of this infection. In other words we must continue to take precautions against Covid 19. No one is safe from it when conditions for its spread are ideal. Remember how it recently spread amongst US college students as they partied in their summer.
This was also true in Cape Town in September when 73 individuals in their late teens went to a celebration at the Tin Roof Bar, and the 30 Fort Hare University party-goers who also became infected last week. From all of these, the message is clear: avoid gatherings, specifically indoor ones.
And for a basic reason: the virus spreads most easily when there are big indoor events. And we must not forget that at this phase of the pandemic - in spite of the hype about vaccines - what works without doubt is still, hand cleaning, sanisiting, masking, crowd isolation, screening and avoidance.
So what to do with the festive season weighing against sensible Covid pandemic behaviour? The joyful season is a time of socialising, relaxation, holidaying and indulging ourselves. We need a joyful season, specifically at the end of such a terrible, tragic year as 2020.
Anti-Covid Festive Behaviour
This requires anti-Covid festive behaviour which is, simply to continue doing what we know works. It needs unity of purpose,t hen the rise of infections will surely be contained as a result. Importantly, we need to curb our propensity to socialise, in this most social of seasons.
Enjoy Yourselves Outdoors, when with extra friend or family
There are 2 outdoors activities we can do with family and friends who have visited our homes: Picnics and choosing walks or long strolls. We are fortunate in Joburg to have numerous safe walking trials, with many integrating picnic areas along the way. They are a great method to bond as households and with guests, but when selecting one, ensure that you select one that is child-friendly.
Five Child-friendly Walking Trails Nearby
1. Braamfontein Spruit (Craighall). Tel: 0860 562 874.
2. Klipriviersberg (Kibler Park). Tel: 011 712 6600.
3. Gillooly's Farm (Bedfordview). Tel: 0860 543 000.
4. Walkhaven Dog Park.Tel: 071 212 9955.
5. The Wilds (Houghton) Tel: 011 643 2313.
- Don't forget what works: Mask, sanitise, soap hand-wash, social distance.
We don't want to usher in the new year with a difficult lockdown or other Covid stress, it needs to remain in the (quickly to be) past, in 2020. Here's a wish for all of us to enjoy a Covid-Safe Johannesburg Festive Season.
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