Enough: South Africans show support for the Black Lives Matter movement this week in the US and to call for justice for local victims of police brutality. Picture: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times
Enough: South Africans show support for the Black Lives Matter movement this week in the US and to call for justice for local victims of police brutality. Picture: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

In the land of the free, there is teargas on the wind as people protesting against the killing of a man by a policeman slug it out with cops armed as if it were Armageddon. And considering the venom, the running street battles, the burning shops and police stations, the killing of George Floyd may indeed turn out to be the Trump administration’s judgment day.

In SA, the SA National Defence Force announced that the soldiers who allegedly assaulted Alexandra resident Collins Khosa so badly outside his home that he died shortly afterwards on his bed were not to blame for his killing; that its investigation was complete. Nothing more to see here, folks, move along.

It can’t be just because of the lockdown that people did not take to the streets to protest Khosa’s death at the hand of soldiers who were supposedly there to keep the peace instead of abusing civilians. Can it?

For the record, the soldiers allegedly choked Khosa, poured his beer over his head, slammed him against a wall and beat him with the butt of an assault rifle.

That overreaction to a man drinking a beer on his stoep could see the army back in the dock defending itself against EFF leader Julius Malema, who has promised to sue the state on behalf of Khosa’s widow, Nomsa Montsha.

It’s two months since Khosa was killed. Have South Africans become so inured to violence that it took a spark thousands of miles away in another country to shock us awake?

Then again, this country has never been weaned off the bullying of the weak by the strong.

"The bastard in the uniform is more dangerous than evil itself," wrote activist and poet Ehsan Sehgal.

Put another way: give a weak man a badge and a gun, and watch the bully in him rise like smoke from a wildfire.

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