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Opinion / Columnist

South Africa, Get to the root cause of the nation's problem

19 Jul 2021 at 19:59hrs | Views
Jacob Zuma did not cause the looting, rioting and violence in South Africa. These activities did not occur in a vacuum, general populous, community members or local communities would have tried more peaceful ways of addressing social issues and problems prevalent in their communities and it is when the political leaders and those in authority do nothing to address the national grievances that when communities resort to violence, taking the law into their own hands to deal with their own problems. To my political brothers and sisters in South Africa this is the reality on the ground.

The biggest challenge that dates back to the apartheid era is the mob psychology also referred to as Mob mentality, herd mentality, pack mentality, groupthink, or crowd psychology. These all boil down to the same idea, were individuals are influenced by a larger group. Regardless of whether that group includes people in your class, your neighborhood, or an entire nation, you will experience mob mentality.

Dr. Martin Luther King's speech pretty much said it all. He reminds us that if we are to condemn rioting for the destructive, unbridled, and rageful aggression that it is, or, more importantly, to try to prevent it from happening in the first place, we have to first understand its cause. Rioting can be thought of as a symptom of a disease. In order to treat the symptom, we have to treat the disease. And the disease, the root cause, in this case is systemic racism that persists more than 100 years. Followed by hope that was never fulfilled.

As we react and comment on the public response to the jailing of Jacob Zuma, we should take care to avoid lumping rioting and rioters and looting and looters together with protest and protesters, as if they are necessarily the same thing or the same people. Although it has been argued that non-violent protesting, rioting, and even looting are points on a continuum of political revolt, often aimless violence and looting represents the opportunistic exploitation of chaos and lawlessness. Information at hand suggests that some of the most unruly behavior might be perpetrated by those with their own agendas, distinct from the protesters.

South Africa leadership need to acknowledge that, while it is easy to blame rioters for destroying property, causing violence, and spreading chaos, doing so diminishes the fact that a riot is a complex and deeply-rooted form of civil unrest which often results from numerous factors. In other words, a riot is often a symptom of a larger, underlying problem, not the problem itself.

South African politics has evolved and policies have changed, but riots have persisted and for a good reason. Oppression, referring to prolonged unjust treatment, continue to take its toll. When people in power fail to address the problems facing the majority, who are very often marginalized and continue to be oppressed, an uprising will inevitably happen.

And Zuma jailing was just a ticking time bomb and a great opportunity to address the challenge of the black majority.

Amandla awethu

Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi

Source - Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi
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