South African Anarchy 13 July 2021

Context – Third Wave of Covid Pandemic, now amidst the riots and looting of the KwaZuluNatal, South African, livelihoods. Gunshots have been ringing out beyond my window for 4 days now, with fewer shots starting on Saturday evening, to a more continuous stream this Tuesday morning. A WatsApp video showed police shooting at gatherers in my area to disperse them from a mall car park this morning.

The government knew that this would be going down as the police force were up early last Friday morning to tackle the expected riots of the day… still, even having that information, nothing was done at any higher level from what I have seen on the ground. Saturday, escalation revealed itself through burning trucks at a toll gate, the number ranging from 23 to 27, depending which source one goes to – one of which held flammable material. On Sunday, things continued, with Social Media sending out an all-call to shut down South Africa so Zuma can get out of prison. By Monday morning – yesterday 12 July 2021 - the guise had changed, and it had become an opportunistic whitewash of destruction and mayhem, bullets and burning, fear mongering and a selfish drive to smash and grab on a bigger scale than the usual in South Africa – your car window. Yesterday and today, it was smash and grab from Shop Windows in malls and off the street.
Unfortunately, by direct connection to me, I can witness that my non-South African neighbour, living in our country and not in his own African country, went out and looted too – I assume. He went out and helped himself – I assume - to new kitchen appliances, which he proceeded to unload from a car last night – in his new jacket - even leaving some of the debris from his looted – my assumption as he has no furniture in his bedsit – goods in the driveway. He even used a locally branded, stolen, basket from the store to carry the items into his bedsit. There’s no way a Black African Foreign National has ANY connection to Zuma’s imprisonment - for refusing to testify in a State Commission at the summons of the Courts - whatsoever.

Last night, President Ramaphosa addressed the nation to tell us that they were sending in some army troupes – 4 days too late? – and the politicians and command council were going to have meetings twice a day to decide what to do. The general population of a province FAR larger than the reach of 2300 army soldiers, running on an exhausted police service, has not seen sight or sound of these army vehicles yet, as of 10h45 Tuesday morning. . . at 11h35, however, an Army helicopter found its way to my window – Lord help us.

I sit in my flat, locked away, listening to the 1st World commentary on the airwaves vs. 3rd the World activities outside my window. Listening to (and watching via social media) the Zulu – majority ethnic group in the region - and other participants of tribal-mob-inclination, third world approach to satisfying their poverty needs through mass overpowering vs. the all-African population of the educated, and politically separated, radio thoughts on the matter. Do they realise how far apart they are? Last night, on the T.V. news, so my WatsApp Group was horrified to witness: the smash-and-grabbers were robbing the South African National Blood Transfusion group of a freezer, whilst the President was talking to the nation about this not going to be tolerated. 4 days of this, 4 days until some form of talking was made. In 96 hours where little has happened (except for putting out fires), livelihoods have been demolished, over R1 billion has thus far been calculated in building damages, and insurance doesn’t pay out in riots for all the billions of Rand’s worth in goods that have been stolen. The government has lost the tax on all those items. The looters have taken items that require electricity in a land where we don’t have enough electricity. A land where the theft of electricity is rife, and there are billions in debt (and some Electricity Employees still received a pay increase this year?!? So I heard was said on the news – looting / capitalism on another platform?). Looters have stolen televisions, when they are supposed to have a television license to pay for the content that is on the channel, how can content be made for the channel without the income of the T.V. license? Simple, more stealing. More loss of jobs at S.A.B.C. (South African Broadcasting). More stealing of electricity. More tapping into other people’s satellite dishes. Then, stealing phones and communication devices: how can you get a contract or get on that phone without being cleared by a service provider? Unless they are swapping SIM cards to gain access to the stolen device. As the Radio News continues its feed, members of the Phoenix Area are stopping looters from entering their area to sell the looted goods – capitalism in another form seems to be another option.

The thing is, I’m guessing the people stealing think that they have nothing to lose. They can’t see passed right now. They can’t see that this destruction means that the costs and prices are going to have to soar in order to replace what has been destroyed. They cannot see that without the stores, without the moving of goods, without the infrastructure, there cannot be jobs. Security is going to be beefed up big time after this now. More fences, more walls, more pepper spray, more shatter-proofing and more gates, locks and fear that will prevent anyone offering a helping hand. They cannot see that this is destroying the future for their children. Even so, the lack of food in one’s stomach may lead to desperate measures, but desperate measures are not TVs and phones, heaters and kettles. Looting of bottle stores – alcohol is not a fundamental, it is not a substance for a healthy body and/or healthy living. Twisted greed, addiction and bad habits feeding mob mentality. But, yes, I type from the perspective of someone who started waitressing at 14 and had to take a student loan to get a qualification and had to work to pay off her further education – working and studying at the same time – and then earn a teacher’s income for more work than pay. My hard work means I am now “privileged”.

Nevertheless, I can understand working for rich people and getting the hell in, when you have so little - been there, done that. I can understand the anger, but I have also seen the apathy, the laziness and the desire to do absolutely nothing, or the bare minimum, and get paid for it. Entitlement – a giant result of hand-outs and victim mentality. Even with an entitled mindset to destroy, fundamentally, that stolen food won’t be enough to last very long. Those stolen goods will rust. The stolen goods will become outdated, and stop working in time. The desire for more will never be satisfied. As long as the rich are rich and the poor are poor, as long as resources are desired and more is craved, there will be no peace, there will be no balance. This human lust for stuff, in greed, without action to build, grow, uplift and do, is an equation that eventually topples.

In a country where around 25% (to be verified by someone) of the population is working enough to pay tax for the grants of the non-working and the necessities of the country; the inverted triangle of the few supporting the majority, the weight of the top will fall down and the few at the bottom, will immigrate. In my classes, in conversations with youth, they don’t want to stay in this country. This looting and vandalism, violence and destruction, gives them more reason to move right on. We’re in a Selfie generation now. Me, in this moment, now. Concern for the future, saving, building, patience, community, all seem to be relics from the past as one sees hundreds descending on supermarkets to steal Coca-Cola, kitchen appliances, vitamins and the like in the grip of a mob. Apparently there have been 26 deaths by trampling in the last couple of days – as per the radio news this morning. Killing someone to get to that soft drink and mealie meal. From an educated perspective, it looks like pure insanity. From a mob mentality, it’s peer pressure at its greatest, in this moment, me, swept away in the now, with no concern for any effects and/or consequences effecting anyone else… maybe, the reason is because I am living in a shack and no-one has any concern for me either… maybe.

All this makes me think back to the arrival of the Portuguese, the arrival of ships and science, education and Western ways. Would it have been better not to bring the inventions of the North into Africa in the first place? Oh, no, because then the people after their own riches and ways to make money and be greedy and own more, wouldn’t have been appeased… A pity that the people of the North – and those who have taken on their ways – and the people of the Southern Hemisphere – who have kept their Shaka Zulu ways – do things so VERY differently. An even greater pity that the ethics and morals of both sides have morphed, hazed and become a blur through politics, capitalism, propaganda, clashing base values (the head of the Zulu Tribe will be followed, no matter what – democracy and transparency don’t work like that) and generational gaps and values…

There was a revolution WAY back 2700 years ago and before. Those coming out of Egypt took over the Promised Land and killed entire towns of people. The Babylonians conquered the Assyrians so badly 2600 years ago that the remains of Nineveh were only found in 1845. Persians conquered and were conquered. The Romans conquered the Greeks. The Dark Ages saw a wipe out of all Nero had clung to. The French Revolution and uprisings. The U.S.A. and their wars on their own land amongst themselves. England and what Prime Minister Thatcher lived through in their uprising. Eventually the poorest of the poor have had enough; and the greater the division the greater the uprising. The greater the divisions, the more reasons to be “Selfie”. The greater the choices away from a higher, fulfilling purpose, the more greed, need and desperation there is. Humans, such broken, repetitive, unteachable creatures who just don’t pay attention and learn from the past, or themselves. Repeat.

13h00 News – Live Report from MAKRO – the biggest wholesaler in the country – cars are parked for kilometres down the road with looters filling their cars with whatever they have stolen from the superstore. Some of those who looted the alcohol division are lying passed out in the parking lot as they have consumed alcohol on the spot. The looters are even stealing the poles and awnings that are in the parking bays for the cars. The government have decided not to declare a state of emergency as they don’t want to put the country under military rule.
The writer is just disgusted. Being South African, just became something embarrassing.

Immigrate. Wise youth.


It seems that things are going from bad to worse. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

A tragic day for South African History!  


It's a tragic loss for a country that had come so far


We shall prevail.


This is a very interesting article, particularly as you are there and observing it in your own society, and in those around you. Very gripping, and very sad. I hope many will read and understand your words and those like it so that solutions can be worked towards. I have not yet seen very much about this anarchy, but I did see a news report yesterday suggesting that many were reporting the looters and encouraging them to return stolen goods, to turn this around. Encouragement was being used rather than punishment. That sounded hopeful, people working together to try to solve this crisis?

A really interesting piece Shannan - though an alarming situation. I'm so sorry you're facing such hard times. Hope you can stay safe. Keep writing!