19/03/2021 Scared, books, possessions
We had to use one or more of the following
Words: tertiary education, storm, possessions, books, swim, scared
South Africa had a democratic election in 1994. It progressed smoothly while Nelson Mandela was president.
1996-2004 I worked in the local library in Potgietersrus (Mokopane) as a senior librarian. There were two unions; each individual working for the council had to choose between the two unions they follow. I represented IMATU, a moderate union. We had meetings regarding affirmative action. IMATU did not believe in marches. The other union, COSATU, constantly tried to make adjustments by demonstrating and marching.
It was the same in the library, two groups dividing us as employees. IMATU wanted to communicate, negotiate and improve, while COSATU did it with marching, yelling, dancing and chanting. Those marches were scary.
The union had to get permission beforehand from the Council or municipality to march and which route they may use. A time when to start the march and when they had to be back at work was allocated. Marching to the police station was out of bound. We, and likewise the municipality, had many issues in the library too.
We received a notification that there was going to be a march. As non-members of COSATU, we had to leave our vehicles at home because it was risky to leave them in the parking areas. We had to leave home early on foot and keep the library locked until the march was over.
The marches started in front of the library. They could march to the main street and back to the Council’s back exit. The gates were latched. Security guards guarded the gates. At the gate, the rioters would shout, dance and scream like crazy. They’ll present the petitions to the mayor. After the march, they would go home. “No work, no pay” provided the marchers with another issue to march and riot anew.
Later, when their marching did not work, the security guards could not hold the strikers at the gates. They occupied the Council building with force. The marchers danced, skipped and yelled while moving into the building. They jumped on counters and desks, damaging everything they could lay their hands on, causing pandemonium. It was extremely terrifying. They were just uncontrollable. People worked up in a rage are extremely unstable and dangerous.
Luckily, the library was safe for us to be in while those protests were continuing outside.