South Africa: We Speak Out Against the Murder of George Floyd, but Do We Devalue Black Lives in SA?

opinion

It is inspiring that South Africans have expressed outrage at the murder of Geroge Floyd in the US, yet we are largely silent on the regular police murders at home.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sent a wave of grief and anger around the world. The US was built on African slavery and indigenous genocide, and remains a fundamentally racist country.

As the great African-American academic Cornell West has pointed out, the system of electoral politics in the US has been unable to achieve the sort of reforms that could finally put an end to even the crude racism of the police. As West points out; the election of a black president did not end the pervasive racism of the American police.

But the protests that have erupted across the country have reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, and given real hope that popular rebellion will achieve what electoral politics has failed to do. When the Black Lives Matter became a powerful force after the uprising in Ferguson in August 2014, people who claimed leadership on the basis of a social media presence were soon co-opted by NGOs and foundations, and the movement lost the source of...

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