How to prepare for a protest during lockdown

Black Lives Matter protests
Black Lives Matter protests
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

  • South Africa is once again dealing with a spike in femicide.
  • Protesting during the lockdown is still prohibited.
  • There are other ways you can protest without physically being there, such as signing petitions.
  • Read more stories on Drum.co.za


South Africa, and the world, has been subjected to reliving issues that the government is yet to address and deal with accordingly. Not only are we fighting Covid-19, gender-based violence, racism and xenophobia, to name a few, have also become the epicentre of the justice that is being sought.

Read more | 3 ways you can take your Black Lives Matter activism beyond a social-media post

This past week, South Africans have had to deal with the never-ending femicide that is happening and are yet to hear how the government is planning on protecting women and children who are most vulnerable.

In response to what is happening in the country, the government is yet to act beyond posting on social media. In the meantime, there are people making an effort to push the issues at hand to the top of the government’s priority list.

South Africans are more likely to get a response by being out in their numbers, calling for peace and justice. However, the country is still under lockdown and the number of positive Covid-19 cases continues to grow. Protesting is prohibited under lockdown and moving forward with it could result in violence.

There are ways to protest during lockdown, though, as there isn’t only one form of it. Here is how you can protest during this time and ways in which you can prepare for it, both mentally and physically.

Listen to your body

Before leaving the house to take part in a protest or a “drop-off”, take note of how your body is reacting to the idea of you protesting. If your mind is thinking of all the things that could go wrong, take time to think about whether or not you’re ready to be in that space. If you are ready but your heart is beating fast or your stomach is turning, do a breathing exercise and stop before leaving the house.

Protect yourself

Although we are in level 3 of lockdown, the virus hasn’t calmed down and adhering to regulations is important. Always remember to sanitise and wash your hands. Wear a mask at all times and make social distancing a part of your lifestyle.

Do your research

It is very important to fully understand what you are getting yourself into. Ask the organisers questions if you are feeling unsure about the day. Find out if there are rules that have been put in place specifically for the area that you are going to be in. Protests or drop-offs attract media. If you are somebody who doesn’t mind addressing the media, ensure you speak to a media house you know aligns with what you are saying. Ask about what happens before, during and after – meaning will there be another “protest’” will there be refreshments, what will happen if things don’t go well?

Do not stand or stay in one area for too long

If each person decides that they will stand or stay in one area a little bit longer than intended, it will turn into a gathering. This will then give the police a reason to disperse the crowd and the agenda for the day will have to be cancelled. Make sure you adhere to social-distancing regulations at all times.

Sign a petition or donate

Not everyone will want to leave their homes. It is important to do your research and find out about ways in which you can contribute to whichever cause you’re fighting for. Change.org is currently the most common platform being used to draw up petitions. Use keywords to search for the cause you’re interested in adding your signature to. There are usually specific social-media pages that are in connection with your cause of choice and the details on how you can donate will be on there. Be wary of scammers who open fake accounts, though.