Cooler heads won't prevail #ACmustfall

"Protected by a whites-only human shield they stormed Koeberg’s gates." (David Harrison, M&G)

"Protected by a whites-only human shield they stormed Koeberg’s gates." (David Harrison, M&G)

FIFTH COLUMN

A few days ago I headed up the West Coast in a minibus with a group of millennials to the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Educational Centre, which I am helping to market to the world through social media.

At age 36, I missed the millennial cut-off by a whisker and so assumed position as natural leader and least cool person there. The West Coast can get warm at this time of year, and I asked the driver to turn up the AC.

Almost immediately, a millennial from the back of the minibus protested and asked me to turn it down.

“I’m old,” I assured him. “I know what I’m doing.”

It became quiet and I asked the youth what he was doing on his phone. He said he was checking the weather. The next moment we passed a girl with a poster reading #ACMustFall. I didn’t think much of it, however, until an angry mob descended on us over the next hill.

Thousands of millennials surrounded the minibus, banging on the windows to demand #ACMustFall. I offered to turn the AC down to six. It was rejected. The protesters started burning tyres – if anything we needed to turn the AC up even more – but I gave in and turned it to zero.

The mob dispersed and we rode on in a toasty 28°C.

Passing Koeberg power station, I noticed the protesters had changed their message to #ANCMustFall.

Protected by a whites-only human shield they stormed Koeberg’s gates. The security staff were helpless. Unable to fire stun grenades near a nuclear plant, they didn’t have much to work with. The millennials broke through with relative ease and scaled the reactors, throwing uranium cake in the air, waving their banners.

The mood in the minibus lifted as we sang the national anthem and some revolutionary songs I didn’t really know the words to. I opened my window to let some more hot air in. This is great, I thought to myself. Surely the government will take note of the national rage now that Koeberg was under siege. Load-shedding may come back, which could lead to more protests and more change, and that was good.

The future looked bright as we climbed a small hill to reach the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Educational Centre. I led the tweeting, eating, laughing, drinking, singing tour group down to a traditional San settlement, where we were to be educated on their ancient culture.

Our San guide explained how a fire in a San village could burn for up to two years and held up bows and arrows used by the first people on Earth, much to the delight of some of the youngest people on Earth.

Without warning, a skimpily dressed San tribe burst on to the scene and danced around the fire. “It’s the #RainMustFall campaign!” our guide shouted over the noise. The San kept dancing – sans posters mind you – and sure as !nábe, clouds gathered and big, fat drops struck the parched earth.

Pink and yellow flowers sprung from the tops of succulents as animals appeared out of nowhere. We joined the San – the whole thing being tweeted around the globe – and sang our praises to the power of protest and the holy hash sign.

 
JS Smit

JS Smit

JS Smit is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Formally trained as a copywriter, he took a break from ads in 2010 to write a blog for the Mail & Guardian's Thought Leader and since 2015 has written for the Mail & Guardian. Read more from JS Smit

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