The march

The weather was overcast, however it was humid and it was threatening to rain all the times. The sweat on every cadre there, seemed like a contradiction of the ‘threat’ of the rain falling at any given point and time.

We are used to following one truck with a loud hailer sound system. However, there were several vehicles all of them blaring some protest song or something in those lines.

Other activists felt that Cosatu could not be allowed to lead the march since it consisted of workers who ‘contribute to pollution of the climate’. We heard all types of revolutionary songs, we even heard some overzealous less talented comrades who sang off key in the lead and were somewhat off beat!

Whilst we sang our lungs out, it was clear the course and its principles were the same, though some were marching silently.

Those silent were either not familiar with the struggle songs or the language, but a group of three ladies had another method going, they went topless and they painted their bare upper bodies.

Theirs was a war against the use of nuclear and their painting depicted their course of war. They caused a ‘climate change’ of their own amongst camera men and women who broke sweat to just get the protesting topless marchers at their best angle!

In our midst was a man who needs no introduction amongst the workers. I hereby refer to the erstwhile General Secretary of Cosatu Comrade Jay Naidoo. The Cosatu leadership were represented ably by General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, Deputy General Secretary Bheki Ntshalitshali.

Numsa Office bearers were out in full force. President Cedric Gina, General Secretary Irvin Jim and Treasurer Philemon Shiburi led us with aplomb throughout.

We saw some leadership from other Trade Unions and the space is not permitting for me to note them all.

“This was an international solidarity march of civil organisations, activist groups and Trade Unions. This was to show that the world has the same concern about the success of the negotiations.

However, NUMSA was a little disorganised. There were no NUMSA colours visible in a march where we could do with some visibility.

There was not even a banner visible, and I am sure we could have been better prepared for this historic march”, these were the words of Michael Nene (RDG Member on Renewable Energy in NUMSA) a shop steward that was in the march.

No looting was reported, the marchers were really disciplined. On the other hand the police were in such numbers that to count them was going to be a nuisance to my ever failing arithmetic abilities!

“The people united will never be defeated” slogan was tested by the drizzle but true to form, the people were not deterred until the memorandum was handed over to the President of Cop17 Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane


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