You are a human being. You have rights inherent in that reality. You have dignity and worth that exists prior to law. – Lyn Beth Neylon
This morning driving to work I became stuck in protests happening in Kya Sands, Johannesburg. My initial reaction was fury and complete irritation. How dare these maniacs run down the roads in swarms brandishing sticks and singing and generally making my Monday morning traffic experience even worse than it usually is.
During the day I was reading some articles online about the protests and I started to change my attitude towards them. Even though it took me two hours to get to work (plus I used up my last bit of petrol before pay-day tomorrow!). I had a job to drive to. I had a car to drive in. I had some money to put in more petrol. I had left a comfortable warm home and I would return to one again later.
On the 21 March 2012 I was one of the 10 000 bright yellow clad individuals running through the streets of Johannesburg. I thought this event was an inspired idea by Nike. My favourite part of the run was most definitely the supporters. At home I cannot run/jog for more than 2km but on that night I continued at a steady pace for the 10km and completed it in just over an hour. There is no greater feeling than the exuberant relief felt when you do something that you yourself did not think you could. All along the streets people were yelling support, high-fiving the runners and creating the most magical atmosphere. The little kids had the biggest smiles and would run right out to you encouraging you, some even pushed some struggling walkers on the back of their legs in support or grabbed their hands and pulled them along the route. What more inspiration can a girl want? They all loved the lumo yellow Nike slap bangles and in my last km I stopped, thanked a gorgeous little girl for the support and gave her mine. The massive smile on her face and her eyes which just lit up was priceless!
The lesson I learnt today is that on that night when we ran through town “taking back the streets” all these people did not get angry that their roads had been closed for hours that day, that we were interrupting their public holiday or Human Rights Day celebrations. No. They came out in generous support of all the runners. The kids, the old people, the homeless and the street vendors we ignore at robots. Everyone was out there cheering us on.
This run was held on Human Rights Day here in SA and what these people were protesting for today; what they are desperate for is basic Human Rights. Housing, water, electricity and education are BASIC Human Rights and surely if I did not have access to these I would be right along these people also demanding these necessities?
Why do we not line the streets with them and shout encouragement and egg them on for something that is a basic right – like they did for us when we were running for our rights to enjoy Jozi?