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Support For Social Justice Should Not Be Limited Based On Prejudice

Is this support truly for the benefit of society as a whole, or is it meant to benefit an individual's position? If it is the latter, is it justifiable?

27/04/2017 03:59 SAST | Updated 27/04/2017 10:19 SAST
Michael Sheehan/ AFP/ Getty Images

A movement is only as powerful as the number of people who support it and the moral integrity of such supporters. Such is the case with movements of all types - political, social, economic, cultural etc. - from all around the world. However, an increasing trend within modern societies, specifically South Africa, is for one to only support a movement once the implications are felt by one's self.

Support is growing for the #ZumaMustFall movement but, a lot of support is been given from people who have previously mocked the plight of university students, service delivery protesters, and even people claiming racial inequality is still present. This sparks a question; is this support truly for the benefit of society as a whole, or is it meant to benefit an individual's position? And if the reason is the latter, is it justifiable?

Our society has been plagued with many maladies since our inception as a democratic nation in 1994. Although much good has been done, we cannot progress if we do not focus on the bad so as to correct the incorrect. One such malady we face is a lack of the delivery of basic services to the most vulnerable, and most numerous, population group; the poor.

Another such malady is the exorbitant fees of tertiary education which have a distinct exclusionary fragrance to them. The people who are faced with these maladies have time and time again taken to the streets in protest to make their situation known.

Yet, these people are mocked by the more privileged as "Inconveniencing my daily commute" or by people accusing them of being "Too lazy because they expect everything to be done for them". These views are not only inconsiderate, but they go against a key aspect of a democratic society; people are entitled to protest if promises made by politicians are not delivered upon. Yet, the privileged minority perceive the suffering majority with a negative sentiment.

The #ZumaMustFall campaign has been readily gaining momentum like a train in the first leg of a journey. Support from society has been growing at a similar momentum. However, many of these supporters are people who hold marginalising views on poverty stricken people who protest. As soon as a problem stemming from governance begins to affect them directly, they flock to the protests being planned, rallies being held, and even like a picture on Facebook!

These people who profess support for the #ZumaMustFall movement but mock similar social movements are not, in my opinion, considered to have moral integrity.

These people who did not give support to the plight of service deprived citizens, and students with no means to pay exclusive tertiary education fees are now calling on society to mobilise. These calls are not inherently based on on society's well-being, but rather on a deep-seated need for personal well-being which happens to be impacted upon by current political leadership.

Support for a movement is all that matters, not so much why the support is given. This selfish thought process may not be all bad if it helps gain support, right? Wrong. The first line you read - that a movement is only as powerful as the number of people who support it and the moral integrity of such supporters - is the criterion upon which a movement is judged.

These people who profess support for the #ZumaMustFall movement but mock similar social movements are not, in my opinion, considered to have moral integrity. These people have every right to protest, but in doing so only when they feel threatened lowers the moral high-ground of their just cause. Do not be mistaken, I fully support the calls for President Zuma to be removed from office. However, calls for social justice should not be limited. We should strive for complete equality within society.