At least 212 people have died in the violence and unrest that broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which President Cyril Ramaphosa called a failed “insurrection.” As calm is restored to volatile areas, South African residents have joined hands and begun to rebuild that which has been destroyed.
REBUILDING THE COUNTRY
In his national address on Friday, 16 July, Ramaphosa said extensive damage has been caused to 161 malls, 11 warehouses, eight factories and 161 liquor outlets and distributors.
Over the last few days, the South African public and businesses have organised relief efforts and cleanups themselves.
One of the ways people have unified during this time is through social media groups. RebuildSA, a Facebook group formed on Tuesday, 13 July, quickly amassed a following of more than 27000 members willing to lend a helping hand and rebuild the country.
“I didn’t expect this small act of kindness to reach so many people,” said the group’s founder, Emelda Masango who is from Soweto, Johannesburg, to GroundUp. “I am proud and overwhelmed.”
“I really just wanted to inspire hope and to help where I can. It is incredible that so many people share a similar vision. We are really seeing the spirit of Ubuntu,” said Masango.
A similar group is getting things done in KZN – Rebuild KZN was founded by Tatum Ridgeway and has just over 23000 members. Ridgeway said 21000 members joined in just two days, adding that the page was meant to be “a light in the darkness, hope in a time of despair and love and positivity in a time of fear.”
“What was intended to break us, what was intended to separate us, has brought people together like never before,” said Ridgeway to SABC News. “On the Facebook page, you see people from all races offering to help.”