Speaker: Faith Manzi
Date: Thursday 12 September, 2013
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College
Popcorn protests pop up, stay in the air briefly, and fall back to land somewhere unpredictable. While they are in the air, if the wind is blowing in a bad direction, the protests may shift from a ‘service delivery’ target, to a xenophobic attack on an immigrant. The high rate of protest in South Africa faces an anti-climax: here today and gone tomorrow. But these insurgencies should not be taken lightly. The strategies of popcorn protesters are complicated, as they assess the balance of forces and choose tactics accordingly. The blocking of major roads is one example, used as a strategy to impose costs on higher-income, more powerful people, in order to have their grievances attended to immediately, followed by escalating tactics that sometimes get out of control. Cato Manor Wards 30 and 101 are a case for careful consideration, especially the events from May to August that culminated in society’s and the state’s turn to fatal violence.
Faith Manzi is a CCS researcher and Durban based activist. She is also a writer and a journalist.