Strikes that go beyond taxi issues

As many of the others have expressed there’s been so much going on where we have been able to experiences the many great aspects of the beautiful country and history of South Africa. Unlike previous years, we have struggled to be within our creches for the last week due to taxi strikes occurring in Vrygrond. I’m sure many of the others have touched upon what is occurring but the underlying situation is that the community is fighting for their rights to provide taxi services to their population. However, currently they only hold 10 taxi permits which is not even close to the number of taxis serving the township. Therefore, the Retreat Taxi Association (RTA) from an outside community is attempting to take over providing transportation services to the community.

Initially, we noticed that this was occurring due to the desire of RTA to monopolize the transport services within many communities, which has happened in other townships. However, after having conversations with staff from True North and everyone in the house we began noticing the similarities between what is happening here and was has been occurring in the States. When a community has been oppressed for an extended period of time there is a specific moment where individuals start fighting back. These taxi strikes are a claim of what provides for a large group of the community; these are jobs for community members who rely on their income to support their families. Therefore, the strikes are deeply rooted in protecting the lifestyle of families  within the community of Vrygrond. I find the similarity to be happening to a certain extent with the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as, the Standing Rock, Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Communities in the States are coming together to fight for and bringing awareness to how their lives and resources are being taken away. Thus, these movement is also rooted in protecting the life of individuals, families and the community as a whole.

It’s been difficult to be out of the creches during the last week due to ensuring we are safe. However, I feel privileged to be part of this experience where I get to really learn not only from the teachers I work with but also from the community as a whole as through them I am able to see what a true community is like.

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