The riots in South Africa are coming pretty close to where some of Vivian’s family live around Durban. The family WhatsApp group was blowing up all night with people sharing info. Really scary stuff. What worries me as well, as an outsider, is the extent to which this deepens the massive social divisions in the country – sectarianism remains a big issue there even decades after the end of apartheid, with the country’s massive wealth still horrifically unevenly distributed. I can understand why rioters would have a lot of pent-up rage about that, but latching on to Jacob Zuma’s self-serving cause doesn’t seem remotely helpful (it’s not like the guy did anything to address inequality while president?), and if my partner’s relatives are correct that rioters are targeting Indians for violent attacks, well, obviously that’s horrific. Just deeply distressing news all around.
Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.