Shouting Back

By: Tshiamo Malatji

We are only murmuring about police violence. South Africa needs loudspeakers hailing through the streets to finally bring this whisper to a shout.

Many South Africans are vaguely aware that police violence is an issue. We have heard it being talked about and have whispered about the impending threat of the police. However, we may not have seen or shared information on how serious the problem is. Resources on police violence are available but often poorly distributed in both mainstream and social media.

Some good resources include the accountability journalism website, Viewfinder. They have a series of articles on the failure of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). This includes a Taco Kuiper award-winning documentary, A Killing in the Winelands. IPID itself does also publish annual reports with data on police crimes.

However, though Viewfinder and IPID are credible information sources, access to information is neither constant nor viral; thus, their campaigns targeting police violence remain mere murmurs. South Africa needs to finally bring this whisper to a shout. If we only whisper the truth, the liars will continue to shout its distortion.

In the United States, the website Campaign Zero shares ten ideas to address and fix police violence, with extensive explanations of its solutions and links to other sources. Their easy visual graphics are also more likely to be downloaded and shared. In fact, the United States is no longer whispering about police violence. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought this issue to the forefront of their political conversation.

I believe, South Africa needs a similar project which communicates public information on the problem, proposes solutions and solicits support. In the past eight years, there have been more than 3 000 fatal shootings by the police and more than 1 000 cases of torture. This is not something we should whisper about any longer. We need to brave the public and holler this truth to all. More importantly, we need to communicate solutions and lobby support so the problem can be solved.

For a long time, we have been shouted at, abused, maimed and murdered. Now, it is time to start shouting back.

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