There is unrest in South Africa. Crowds clashed with police and ransacked or burned shopping malls across Southern African on Tuesday with dozens reported killed as grievances unleashed by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma boiled over into the worst violence in decades.
Protests that followed Zuma’s arrest last week have widened into an outpouring of anger over the inequality that remains 27 years after the end of apartheid.
Security officials said the government was working to bring an end to the violence and looting, which has spread from Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg, the country’s biggest city, and its surrounding province of Gauteng.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) said late on Tuesday that as many as 72 people had lost their lives and 1,234 had been arrested over the last few days as protests descended into looting and riots.
The legal proceedings against Zuma, who is charged with multiple counts of corruption, have been seen as a test of post-apartheid South Africa’s ability to enforce the rule of law.
The former president, who has denied wrongdoing, was jailed for contempt after he defied an order to attend an inquiry into high-level graft. The violence has worsened as Zuma challenged the 15-month term in the country’s top court on Monday.
Soldiers have been deployed to help support the police and “restore order”.
While the escalating looting spree, chaos, fear and mayhem may be invoking a sense of hopelessness, there are groups of South Africans who are already looking past it.
One such optimistic is Emelda Masango, who took to Facebook on Tuesday to share how she won’t be going back to a job but volunteered her time to help clean up the looted shopping centres.
From sweeping up broken glass to collecting trolleys and more, she has inspired thousands of South Africans on the group “I Know A Guy”.
People have started sharing which areas they live in and which days they are free to go assist in cleaning everything up.