The proximity of their murders—Steenkamp posted a tribute to Booysen to her Instagram just days before her own death—presents an unavoidable reminder that gender-based violence cuts across society and cannot be dismissed as a problem faced only by others. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, the gory glitter of Steenkamp’s murder has overshadowed Booysen’s death in the international media.)
Pictures of labourers with raised fists, chanting liberation slogans are now commonplace in South Africa. We’re notorious for industrial protests, dubbed “the protest capital of the world”. For many, the only serious cause for concern is the unsightly violence of industrial protests. The world watched in awe as the police showered (allegedly) armed Marikana miners with rifle fire. Forty-six people were killed, 34 all in a day’s work. With Marikana incident still fresh, a violent transport workers’ protest erupted. Local and international media were littered with images of burning trucks and reports of violent clashes between protesters and police. Before the country could breathe, protests erupted in De Doorns. This time it was the farm workers protesting disgustingly meagre wages. The pictures were no different: burning police vehicles, blocked roads, burning tyres and substantial damage to public and private property.
Has this person conveniently forgotten that as prescribed by the Bantu Land Act of 1913 and the Bantu Trust and Land Act of 1936, certain areas of the country were demarcated for black citizens? What this means is that, land was taken from people and those who were once able to feed themselves, their families and communities went straight to having nothing. You see, land is not ‘’just land’’ as many often insinuate. It is right at the centre of some of our most pressing problems today. Despite being an overwhelming 80% of the South African population, the land allocated for black occupation is believed to have been only 13% of the territory comprising the South African state. People were taken off land that had been in their families for generations and were taken from their homes. For some, it was the only home they had ever known.