Over the past week, there have been numerous calls to shut down the country in protest to President Jacob Zuma reshuffling his cabinet. As we enter freedom month, and as part of our #ValueDemocracy campaign, it is of utmost importance for the youth of the country to make their voices heard in democratic processes because the trajectory of the country depends on young people.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp provide opportunities for the youth to voice their opinions in a manner that suits them. After President Jacob Zuma’s reshuffled his cabinet, there has been a great deal of discussion among Activators on various platforms voicing both discontent and appeasement around his decision. #BlackMonday and #NationalShutDown Friday as a consequence of the cabinet reshuffle has polarized the network and the country as a whole. The polarization affords us the opportunity to learn from each other and understand our very diverse perspectives informed by lived experiences.
We encourage all youth citizens to actively participate in processes that will better the country. In developing platforms to make the voices of Activators heard, we looked at the opinions of Activators on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to gauge the thoughts of the ACTIVATE! Network around the cabinet reshuffle. This is what they had to say:
Facebook comments from Activators:
Tshepang Mokgatla: “My opinion, is that we as the citizens are victims of a power battle between the state and white monopoly capital. Both with zero integrity at this point are busy pointing a finger and saying the other is bad. And we are forced to choose sides when our contribution holds little influence to change things. The first thing we need to do. Define what we want. We all know what we do not want, but the fundamental? is that we have not clearly defined what we want. The president leaves today then what? The Rand will recover, everything back to normal meaning the rich get richer and the poor suffer in silence. What are we saying about the monopoly capital that manipulates the currency and rating agencies giving false ratings.
Nqaba Mpofu: “It’s all good and well to call for unity against wrongdoing and injustice. Yes, we want change in Mzansi, and it must be meaningful change. Not some cosmetic frill that refuses to address the systemic and structural issues.”
Pedro Wright: “The protest on Friday is being turned into an “us” and “them” issue that I don’t like that. It removes the freedom of choice because it comes with a threat. If you protest then you run the risk of appearing anti-black.”
Nhlanhla Ndlovu: “I think the issue that bothers me is the fact that it is now in our face. We do not have power at all as citizens which means that this thing we call a democracy is really nothing but sheep skin worn by a wolf to blind us to the truth. If we lived in a democracy, we would be the board and the president, only a chairman and his ministry our service providers. This is true democracy. So how do we Activate 2030 effectively through politics without real political influence? We should start asking for clarity of what democracy really is and what it means for us youth. As Activators, we have people who sit in committees that discuss You-th Making Local Government Work, how do we use them as a resource to further our interests on those platforms?”
Casca Johnson: “I think we should be asking ourselves what is the underlying agenda behind this reshuffle? What is the rationale behind firing Pravin and keeping Bathabile? What is the political motivation behind this move? Are we trying to open the floodgates for looting?”
Rammolotsi Kgotso Sothoane: “My view on the issue of the cabinet reshuffle simply that it is the president’s constitutional prerogative to appoint and dismiss ministers as he pleases as cabinet ministers serve at the behest of the president. I do recognise however that as a network, we must seek to influence society at both local and national levels. In this light, we have an obligation to continually make honest and serious assessment and evaluation of how far our programs have succeeded in addressing the challenge of youth empowerment in South Africa.
Molatelo Machaba: “I’d like to send a message to all young people around this Zuma thing which is ruining our future. I want to do exactly what 1976 did, that’s my plan. And I see ACTIVATE! as a weapon. There are so many leaders in their own way and if we as non-political young people stand against all this so called government based history. Now is the time to do something, I’m done with government and the history in leadership.
WhatsApp comments from Activators:
Shakespear: Zuma is the first President in South Africa to directly assault white privilege. That is hella impressive. Some of ya’ll don’t understand what’s really happening, you just reiterating what you see in the headlines without critically applying your mind.
Matt: What I realized that so many people in this country do not know what to do. Or know how to do anything… So if anything, this will give us an opportunity to literally see who shares our thoughts/feelings/protest. For me, this is more about unifying the people. For divided, we will fall.
Bulumko: I’d like to know where these souls where during the marikana period. When penny sparrow, hellen zille and the countless other racists made public their private leftist conversations. Where are they as the poor majorities continue to loot the property and dignity of other african nationals. Where were day last week on what should have been termed black week for womxn and little girls all over the country.
Avu: 2019 is too far to deal with this nonsense of Zuma
Dee: I think the ANC is dead
Zilungile: Leaders could this possibly indicate a demise in our economy considering that the rand took a dive? What is the good that will come out of this reshuffle?
Ntlantla: We have a country that is being run by one man. I concede there are many issues behind this. The move shows that he rules with an iron fist and cares nothing for the people of South Africa
Comments from Twitter
@PrinceNofoto: We may not all agree with the recent reshuffle but we must rally behind the ministers and support them as young people on the ground.
@Ndlovu_N1: Our country is being run by one man. I concede there are many issues behind this. This is the ultimate expression of an iron fist.
@Khastelle: This is like the Nkandla report, it means nothing to you if you are unemployed and stuck in the hood somewhere.