Yesterday was a day of empowerment! As a white male South African, I represent so much ugliness to people who have been affected by white oppression. I acknowledge that. I own that. I will fight for what I believe in. I will raise my nothing voice and contribute. Why? Because I have to. To do the right thing. Because I have a label of privilege, let me use it. Because I am white, let me use it. Because I am a minority, I have to use it. Not for me. I do it for those who hate me most. For the ideals in which I believe will benefit those who need it most. I understand the distrust. But still I rise for something greater than myself.
We protest for those who cannot speak, whose voice is not heard, be it a result of fear, hate, ignorance, apathy, circumstance, belief or comfort, we march for you, for our shared interest and destiny.
We protest today, to stand up and declare, “Not this time!” We are aware of the power that resides in idleness, and we are prepared to own the guilt of our inaction, no matter our station, we commit to ensuring inaction is not a curse upon this land again.
We protest because of our race in a racial society, a society which even if inherited, we choose to maintain. We acknowledge the futility of maintaining this history, which exists not only from within but also without our borders, bringing us to this precipice, demanding that we take a stand.
We protest out of shame and guilt, not to assuage it, but to acknowledge and own that we and those who came before, have brought upon South Africa this saddest of days. We are complicit in the state of the country and commit to the necessary change. And we will commit ourselves to accepting the lesson, as tough as it needs be.
We protest for the dreams of dreamers, too numerous in nationality and race to be named; for the idealism of thinkers and martyrs; and the hopes and prayers of a shared destiny which unifies them. We do this for all the heroes who have arisen in times like these. We have inherited, even if only the smallest part or influence, the narrative which we seek to change, and we can each only do our small part in this, loudly and proudly.
We protest for an identity, for a day when being South African will be a label of pride that transcends the boundaries which define our existence in this space and time today, as they too extend and exist across the global stage. That we may be the beacon of light which leads the world, that this too our children can inherit.
We protest as those before did, and we commit to our fellow South African, that there is a dream, we may not be able to see it or define it, we may not agree on it, but we know that on days like these, when injustice rears its head to falter the realisation of our potentiality, what the dream is not, and we owe it to our legacy and future to refrain from passivity.
We protest for the truest victims, the hopeless and lost, which we have raised. The petty and hardened criminals, the homeless and destitute. The window washer, the hooligan, the begger and car watcher. The drug dealer and addict. She reduced to appraising her flesh. The rural. The urban. The worker. The miner whose toil in the soil leads him closer than any other to an understanding of his final resting place.
We protest like we have never protested before, to support each other, every man, woman and child, in the hope that we may not just be acknowledged when unified,as we have been in moments of liberation, and in the kick-off of celebration, but that this unification we have experienced before becomes entrenched in our DNA.
We protest in the hopes that this will be the moment which may further free our nation from her bonds. That from this day we will ensure the atrocities of the past are never forgotten, and that we will commit to working tirelessly to confronting and owning our legacy and making the necessary change, and to ensuring that the unity we have felt on our brightest days, is treasured and honoured and sustained.
We protest to stand our ground, and are committed to being a participating member of this land, as inconvenient and uncomfortable as it may seem.
We protest in an act of hope and trust, committing to the above so as to ensure that we acknowledge and will not forget or undermine or devalue, the lives and experiences of those who suffered before.
We protest for each other. Not blind to race, but aware of it. That the colour of our skin has influence, whether it is the birthright of a powerful majority rising to claim, or the waning privilege of a powerful minority – that as a nation we can achieve the seeming impossible, as we have done before when we were most afraid.
We protest in the hope that our areas of influence may benefit each other justly to a shared aim. That our hopes for this phoenix of a nation may arise again, and always triumph over the polarising evil which would seek to divide us yet again.
We protest at the risk of being futile, but faithfully knowing that each step is in the right direction. Belief in doing the right thing is central to our purpose. May every South African be blessed with the belief that their path is the right one. We honour every point of view, even those most in opposition of our own. We are all free to participate in this democracy. Be constructive. Let the most destructive forces fall!
We protest in solidarity.