President Jacob Zuma was reportedly booed at the official Youth Day rally in Ventersdorp in North West.
The embattled president was in the region to speak officially on Youth Day. The boos, however, came after the crowd was asked to stand and wave their flags as a sign of love and respect for President Jacob Zuma.
A group of young people responded to the directive by chanting ‘Zuma Must Fall’. An unfazed Zuma continued his speech, stressing the need to fight poverty, inequality with education.
Education, he added, is the most powerful weapon that the youths must have if they must overcome unemployment, poverty, and inequality.
Going down the history lane, he touched on the events of the Soweto Uprising and the importance of honoring the youths of 1976 because their contribution played a role in the country’s freedom.
He advised young people not to neglect the opportunities that the AC government has availed for their development.
“The youth of 2017 is fighting for freedom from poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The National Youth Development Agency has been directed to focus on promoting youth entrepreneurship and the improved coordination of the national youth service across all sectors of government,” he said.
The rally was also attended by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and Ministers Nathi Mthethwa and Buti Manamela.
Every year on the 16th of June, South Africa commemorates Youth Day in honor of all the young people, mainly students, who lost their lives during the Soweto Uprisings.
176 young people died during the protests but according to estimates, over 850 people actually lost their lives during the widespread protests in 1976.
Watch: Zuma booed at Youth Day Rally
— City Press Online (@City_Press) June 16, 2017
It is saddening to note that President Jacob Zuma has gradually metamorphosed from the head of state who enjoyed mass popularity into a president who has to be protected from the people he leads.
The list of Zuma’s no-go zones keeps increasing – from Parliament to ANC stalwarts’ funerals to public rallies. What a shame! In May, (twice in six days), the ANC leader was unable to address public events and had to be whisked away from agitated crowds.
First, it was at the main May Day rally in Bloemfontein, where he was booed by union members. Next was at Vuwani, where he withdrew from addressing a large community meeting in the town.
Free State Premier Ace Magashule vowed to launch a witch-hunt to identify and purge public servants who booed Zuma at the rally but till now, nothing has been said.
BuzzSouthAfrica recalls that during the recent World Economic Forum in Durban, Zuma ‘enlightened’ the crowd on what booing actually means.
He described it as a normal part of democracy, adding that those who engaged in protests against the president “will not be arrested and they are not going to be harassed”.
“Protests‚ debates‚ booing is part of the culture of democracy. Unfortunately, people misunderstand that and misread it. I don’t know what is it that makes people excited. Perhaps it’s newsworthy stuff‚ fine‚ but that is the culture of democracy. I’m very happy that South Africa is very matured and you have a president that they can talk to‚ whatever is in their minds,” Zuma said.
Well, if Zuma thinks that booing is part of democracy, then why should we bother? Nevertheless, what bothers us is the embarrassment and message booing a sitting president send across the globe.