Protesters stand in solidarity with Gangster State author

2019-04-16 17:46

A group of about 80 people occupied the road in front of the Iziko Slave Lodge in Adderley Street, Cape Town, on Monday in solidarity with Gangster State author Pieter-Louis Myburgh, following the disruption of the book launch in Johannesburg, reports GroundUp.

Some protesters stood at the corner of Adderley and Darling streets to block the traffic. Police were on the scene to redirect vehicles.

Protesters chanted "Amandla Awethu!" ("Power to the People") and sang "Ubumbano" ("Unity"). Some read excerpts from books that were banned during the apartheid era.

Protesters held posters proclaiming, "In Our Democracy, We Dare To Know" and "ANC Recall Ace Magashule".

"When people start burning, and banning books, or don’t want others to read books, then we’re in trouble," Marcus Solomon, who was banned for five years by the apartheid government, told the crowd. "Especially when some of those books contain information that might tell us why we are in a country where there is still so much poverty."

Myburgh’s book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, details alleged corruption by ANC secretar general Ace Magashule while he was premier of the Free State, claims Magashule has denied.

Protesters against the book disrupted the Johannesburg book launch at Exclusive Books in Sandton City on April 9, storming in with posters declaring "#HandsOff SG Ace", and ripping apart some copies of the book.

The Johannesburg incident was followed by the cancellation of the book launch at the Waterfront branch of Exclusive Books, which was then rescheduled for this week. The Free State ANC Youth League have also threatened to host a bonfire and destroy copies of the book.

"Freedom is dependent on truth, and we all know that no-one has a monopoly on the truth — no single person, no single religion, political party, organisation, government — no one knows all the truth," Methodist minister Alan Storey told the crowd. "The way we get to the truth is by humbly sharing our truth with one another. Freedom is dependent on truth and truth is dependent on humility."

The event was organised by civil society coalition Unite Behind. Members of other organisations like Equal Education, Extinction Rebellion, and Reclaim the City also took part.

Equal Education facilitator Siyasanga Vilakati sai: "I am here to try to put a stop to corruption… raising my voice as a citizen of South Africa to say that we know what you’re trying to hide."

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