Last Saturday 3rd December, around 100 passionate South Africans descended on the pavement outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square in London, to make their voices heard and air their views of disapproval against the Protection Of Information / Secrecy Bill that was voted in by Parliament on Black Tuesday 22nd November.
The protest was organised by myself with the help of the DA Abroad who I'd like to commend a fantastic job with handling the logistics of the operation, the ANC London Branch were invited to play a part, however as expected, they declined... which I'll tell you all about in a moment , you'll have a good laugh 🙂
Although getting people down to Trafalgar Square on a cold winters morning was going to be a tough feit, the group was surprisingly large considering, however the size of the group didn't warrant the sound of the group because if you were in the area, you would have sworn that there were 300 people chanting along! Everyone who attended were just as passionate in their display wearing Springbok Jerseys, South African flags, SA scarfs and holding up banners, basically anything South African, which turned into a very well spirited morning which conveyed a strong message against the Secrecy Bill. Speeches were given by myself, Ludre Stevens of the DA Abroad and Former DA MP Nigel Bruce with statements read out by Archbishop Desmond Tutu by myself and British MP Peter Hain by Ludre. The message we conveyed was a strong disapproval of the Secrecy Bill in South Africa and to also show South African's back in South Africa, that we refuse to sit back, watch and do nothing, we had their backs, and judging from the attention the protest received both here and in South Africa, I'd say that we did just that, making it a great success. I'd like to thank each and everyone who attended once again because without you, this would have not been possible, I have huge respect for you all for coming together to drive this message back home. We did good!
The protest also marked the point where the campaign against the Secrecy Bill burst through the borders of South Africa and went international, I'm hoping that South Africans in other parts of the world follow suit to voice their disapproval.
SABC News were also there to cover the event which was aired later that day on the evening news in South Africa, check out the YouTube vid.
The event was also fully covered by Darren Adams who also posted this video which is very informative and brilliantly put together!
Now I've had a lot of people asking me if I read the South African this morning, yes I have 🙂 Now unsurprisingly when organising such an event, you will always have someone who will say something bad about it... and sometimes make a complete fool of themselves at the same time... If you read the South African this morning you would have seen that this person took the form of the ANC London Branch leader, Xolani Xala.
Xolani decided that to tell the South African Newspaper this:
The people in the protest are a bunch of cowards, coming together claiming to represent all South Africans abroad. It’s opportunism, and they could have achieved their goals in other ways.
The way forward is to create a platform in which South Africans at large can engage in a robust discussion. The march was for the DA seeking attention not for South Africans, but it’s typical of [DA leader Helen] Zille. If the DA wants to respond, let them come to a dialogue. South Africans do have the right to protest, and we have earned that right, but to march without giving notice to the ANC London Branch is an act of cowardice and being disrespectful.
Ok, so lets take a look at this, firstly this was not opportunism by the DA since I contacted them to help organise the protest, I needed a hand and they agreed to help since they felt strongly about it themselves and they had all the contacts, so that blows that out of the water. Then the oke is saying that we are cowards... Well I think not, I'd say by definition of the word, the complete opposite since we went out that morning and stood up for our people's rights, rather uncowardly wouldn't you say? Although he does say that the act of cowardice is that we did not tell them about it. Now this is where it gets quite interesting, because you see, he was personally invited by DA Abroad Leader Ludre Stevens, which was a major part of what we wanted to achieve with the protest, we wanted everybody to participate regardless of who you were or whichever political party you represented, this was even indicated on the Facebook Event Page, so Xolani was well aware of it... so much that he even made this comment on the Facebook Event Page the day that it was created displaying his dissatisfaction for being asked to be involved. Click to see the full image of the comment on the FB Event Page
Shame, it seems Xolani suffers from amnesia... either that or he just blatantly lied which means his credibility has just exited out the window. He did say one thing right though, so I'll give him that, the part about South Africans having the right to protest and we've earned that right. Which is exactly what we did at the end of the day.
If anything, Xolani is the coward for not participating (possibly because he would got himself into a spot of trouble from his mates in SA), and with regards to opportunism, I guess we can see who's trying to opportunistic here, trying to make a bit of a name for himself for something he was too much of a coward to take part in, by speaking against it. Although I don't think he's done the ANC London Branch any favours, if anything, he's really damaged any credibility they did have since he represents them. He seems to do quite well at this, you may have read a while ago about his attendance record at the Breakfast Indaba in The South African.
We may be a cowards for what ever reason you'd like to invent in your mind, but you sir, are a complete fool and everyone can see it... not very well thought through... Top marks in the "How to lose friends and alienate people" test and he only has himself to blame for it.
All in all a great day was had by all, leaving everyone involved feeling rather patriotic for a job well done, I'd once again like to thank each and every person involved for taking the time to help get the message across. You can feel proud within yourselves that you actively fought for the freedoms of our nation and made a stand against elements of apartheid such as censorship, that the current government are trying to re-introduce.
We are looking at further protests in January alongside protests in South Africa so keep a look out for info! I guess we don't need to invite the ANC following their recent comments, however if they would like to be involved, I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement.
Check out the photos from Saturday's Protest