Vuwani Continues To Burn

As I write this, I am reminded of the famous American black revolt movie called “Mississippi Burning.” Now in South Africa, we have our very own “Vuwani Burning.” 

I woke up today to news that the marginalised community of Vuwani in Limpopo Province, has yet again set alight learning institutions. This after, the very same community had burnt 25 learning institutions in less than a week a few months ago. 

It’s easy to throw all sorts of accusations to shift blame from the main perpetrators in the game, yet often, we fail to ask critical questions.

From a distance, we should ask ourselves, where is the community whose infrastructure is being destroyed? What exactly went wrong with our South African people? How does denying kids an opportunity to learn, advance the cause of those destroying valuable public property? Why is it that it’s only ‘black’ people who does this? Who are these people destroying our educational infrastructure? 

The reality is, there are so many deserving communities in need of infrastructure development that people of Vuwani are mercilessly destroying and they’re pulling their own kids backwards.

The sad reality is that the South African Government has now been forced to put aside other important projects requiring attention to attend to the Vuwani case. While schools that have been applying for infrastructure development in other communities are given the common, discouraging and boring response that priority is given to schools that have been stormed down and burnt. All the while, kids in other rural communities continue studying under difficult circumstances under trees- come rain come sun. 

The reality is, the ANC has become aloof. 


Torching 25 schools in less than 96 hours is an international record. From a distance, it’s not possible for any unorganised spontaneous community outrage to yield such results. Most black communities know that when a community mob is enraged, it will act collectively during daylight to attack public institutions. 

In Vuwani, the schools are torched at night. This suggests a trained, well founded mobile guerrilla unit capable of moving from one area to another quickly. The first six schools were torched on one night after a report back from community leaders subsequent to a high court ruling. 

The police and intelligence agencies must apprehend the culprits and these culprits must be taken to court promptly.  The guerrilla unit will reveal its masters. The masters must be severely punished by the justice system.

An unequivocal example must be made of these criminal elements. For months now, kids in Vuwani have been school-less. Their classrooms, desks and records gone with a criminal conflagration of their schools caused by reactionary pseudo-political forces determined to satisfy their backward political ambitions. 

The lynching of 25 schools is a huge and heavy national disaster. It’s a bloody-damn national tragedy. South African needs to seriously rally together and draw the line and say: “Not In Our Name.”


The reality is, the ghost of the past (apartheid) is haunting us. Apartheid gave birth to the demons of racism, ethnicity and regionalism among others. To fix this, a continuous dialogue on these national questions in needed. 

In addition, we cannot as the youth of the country continue to ignore the pseudo-political machinations of some scoring cheap political points inflaming the community’s for taking the matter through the courts, but alas they degenerated into the most barbaric acts of burning schools and other productive property. 

We can never advocate violence. For through violence, you may murder a murderer, but you can never murder, murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can never establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater but you can never murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness- only light can do that. Let Vuwani have schools. 

Someone please stop the voodoo.

Koketso Marishane is a social analyst and writes as a concerned citizen. 

Image from Google

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