While protesting against the murder of George Floyd in the US, civil society organisation #NotInMyName has also looked closer to home, calling for the killers of Collins Khosa to be brought to book and jailed.
A small group of activists were allowed to protest outside the US embassy in Pretoria on Friday morning, despite the lockdown regulations not allowing for any gatherings.
Police looked on as the group held aloft “black lives matters” posters, demonstrating over the death of Floyd, as well as Khosa, allegedly killed by South African Defence Force (SANDF) members in Alexandra, Johannesburg in March this year.
The group protested as audio of Floyd being detained played in the background. In the audio you can hear Floyd saying that he can’t breathe as a police officer held him down, kneeling on his neck.
“I can’t breathe,” was repeated by the protesters.
#NotInMyName chairperson Siya Jentile said the protest was about venting frustrations and making voices heard about racism and the continued killings committed by law enforcement across the world.
“We cannot continue to watch on the sidelines when people are being killed; when black men are being killed by those who have been charged with the responsibility to protecting them,” Jentile said.
“We are not here today to mince our words. We are here to say that as we demand justice for those killed by the police, by the SANDF.”
Jentile further said that they would be watching the SANDF and the minister of defence very closely, waiting for those who are responsible for the death of Khosa to be charged with murder.
The protest was also to shed light on the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis in the US.
Jentile said the world over has faced racism, a pandemic that has been around long before Covid-19.
“We are also standing in solidarity with those internationally who are also being killed. We should be allowed to be outraged. We should be allowed to voice out our frustrations again racism.”
#NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango said their message was simple: “We are saying no to racism internationally, we are here in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the US who are saying black lives matter. We need to tear down structural racism and white supremacy.”
“We are here today out of conviction that says we cannot afford to have the very people supposed to be taking care of us, looking after us, kills us.”
Masango reiterated that Khosa was killed by the very people who were supposed to protect him during the lockdown. This was the same for Floyd.
“We cannot stand back while the international community is crying for the lives of black people. We are saying that the brutality must stop and stop now. We are here to say enough is enough.”