Following Thursday night's announcement of President Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle, there has been public and political outcry about the economic effects that the announcement of Pravin Gordhan's sacking and replacement by former Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba. Now, a group of self-proclaimed "ordinary concerned citizens of this nation" is calling on South Africans to wear black on Monday 3 April 2017 to protest what they are calling the recent "irrational actions" of the president.
On the Black Monday movement's website, their statement of intent begins with "our souls are not for sale" -- saying that they do not condone the cabinet reshuffle and are looking to "save the legacy that Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and liberation leaders fought for". Organisers are asking South Africans to sign the petition on their site to confirm solidarity with the movement.
"Fellow South Africans, the actions of the Executive over the past 48 hours have had an immense effect on all of us. We, as fellow participants in civil society, civil service, NGO's, business, and the youth of South Africa, do not condone these actions.
We acknowledge that:
‐ The time has come for all of us to unite behind the values enshrined in our Constitution
‐ That there is a duty on all of us to uphold and protect these values by holding our government accountable to their Constitutional mandate
We wish to dispel the myth that these irrational actions have and will contribute to our economy.
As a sign of our discontentment, we invite all disapproving South Africans to stand together behind the #BlackMonday movement. This coming Monday (3rd April 2017) we will all wear black in solidarity and use the tag to further the cause.
We can no longer be passive. Let us start the change we wish to see in our beloved country, and save the legacy that Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and liberation leaders fought for."
According to information on the Black Monday website, the movement hopes to be "a united voice for all South Africans to stand behind" and insists that they "do not share any political affiliation".
We must take to the streets and see action on the ground that calls for order, ACTION & answers. But not everyone can do that. #BlackMonday— C Constantinides (@ChangeAgentSA) April 2, 2017
But the reaction has not been positive from everyone, with critique coming from people who are asking where mass protest movements like this were when 34 people were killed at Marikana or issues like gender pay gaps, structural racism and poverty.
#BlackMonday that doesn't focus on free education,unemployment, service delivery, inequality, economically freedom but only on one person 😯.— Morgan Shebeleza (@MorganShebeleza) April 2, 2017
With the crux of the naysayers' argument summarised by one Twitter user as follows:
#BlackMonday critics are simply saying where were y'all for the issues that disproportionately affect poor black people? Now you need help,— Linda (@YeahLindaK) April 2, 2017
While the Black Monday debate gains momentum online, with racial lines being drawn by black Twitter users, it remains to be seen what kind of support the movement will receive from South Africans tomorrow.