Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mpumalanga Unrest: Library books saved from flames

Despite the Siyathuthuka municipal building still burning after being set alight this morning, librarians and fire department personnel are - right now - carrying out mostly unscathed library books; they have already filled two 'bakkie' loads with books.

While this is happening in Zakheni Street, a police helicopter is overhead and police armoured vehicles bristling with shotguns are up and down the streets; this is reminiscent of the state of emergency in 1985 when I was growing up.

There are also police, some in plain clothes, behind walls and in-between buildings taking pot shots at protesters as they raise their heads; most of these protesters seem to be on the run and retreating into the depths of the township.

A podgy white police inspector with a shotgun over his shoulder and what looks like a 'knopkierie' hanging on his belt turns around suddenly, as I click my camera at him. "Don't you dare publish those photos," he roars at me pointing his finger into my face. "Don't threaten me," I yell back with more resentment than he anticipated. Like all bullies he imediately backs down and talks nicely to me. "Those days where middle aged white men with inferiority complexes talked down to me are long over," I think to myself with glee. Respect is earned, not demanded.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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