South Africa: Can We Not Share More and Hate Less? the Dangers of 'Normal' and 'Temporary Discomfort'


What is 'more normal' about anything in South Africa? What is ubuntu and how can it be applied so apparently carelessly when deadly vigilantism is on the rise; ethnic, racial, class and all sorts of other divisions have been refreshed, reloaded and rebooted; and where is the 'magic' in the structural violence of poverty, unemployment and a predatory, kleptocratic, indifferent state?

In September 2019, Vusi Ngema (not his real name) was shot in the face, arm and chest after becoming involved in an altercation with an off-duty, plainclothes police officer at a tavern in Umlazi. His cousin was shot dead during the same incident. Enraged tavern patrons disarmed the officer, beat him up and later handed him over to police when they arrived at the scene some time later. The officer was taken to hospital and placed under police guard. The matter was referred to the Independent Policing Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for investigation.

Shortly afterwards the officer was discharged and transferred to Isipingo police station where he was much closer to where Ngema remained in hospital, unable to speak because a section of his jaw and teeth had been blown away, and unable to move because a bullet had broken...

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