Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCT chapter.

Humanity is once again being tested and, unfortunately, it is once again using Black lives as its scapegoat. Social media is booming, news outlets are stirring… All whilst I have been mulling over so many conflicting emotions that I feel like I could ignite the next rocket to outer space. The problem is, unlike the SpaceX rocket that launched recently, I don’t know how to take my confliction and conviction towards recent events and channel them into something useful and helpful. However, seeing this article topic on the weekly list of options changed things for me. Instead of posting the words of other people to my social media stories, I have a platform to share my own thoughts and hopefully, also to make an impact on our war for a better humanity.

On the 25th of May 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., George Floyd (a 46-year-old African American man) passed away because of the barbaric actions of Derek Chauvin (a White policeman) and his three colleagues. George Floyd was arrested after being accused of using a counterfeit US$20 bill at a deli. At the time of his arrest, it was cited that Floyd had resisted arrest by laying down and not getting in the car. It was further cited that it was because of this that Chauvin and his company used physical force. Derek Chauvin used his knee to apply direct pressure onto George Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes, whilst the other two policemen held down the rest of his body. It has been stated that George Floyd did not die directly because of this abuse, however, it heavily contributed to his tragic passing. From videos and pictures taken and posted on social media, George’s words: “I can’t breathe”, became the pinnacle that sparked an outrage throughout the world and that pushed the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the forefront of attention, yet again.

Being in quarantine and lockdown, I feel like every thought and emotion I experience has been amplified because of a lack of outlets to express myself. Having seen what has been happening online, having read every post regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement and bearing witness to so many peoples’ struggles, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough as an ally. I felt stuck in figuring out how to help in a way that makes more of a difference and encourages change. Observing my friends and acquaintances take a stand with their voices, their poetry, their art and their overall passion for the cause inspired me to want to do the same. And yet, I still did not know how. I started to feel like I wasn’t doing enough compared to other people. I was plagued with questions surrounding what was politically correct and non-offensive and yet still to-the-point and telling. I, too, wanted to showcase my outrage over the crime that had been committed, my raging desire for justice. I wanted to make visible my overflowing empathy and emotion for every Black life that has been systemically and unfairly stigmatized against and, in some cases, lost as a result of inhumane ways and reasoning, amongst other things.

Being a South African Indian, I also have to acknowledge the systemic racism that my own race contributes to. Even though it is difficult to speak up about, I believe that the mere fact it is difficult to do so means we ought to. The only way to ensure change is to ensure it has a foothold in your own house. I can only hope that I will be able to do this, however, there are many worries surrounding the matter I still need to challenge.

One of these worries is that I am struggling to find my own voice to help. That which is happening in the States is also happening in our own continent and country, our own home. The brutal and tragic passing’s of people like Collins Khosa, Tina Ezekwe and many other Black people have highlighted such discrimination. These cases are so unfair and unjust that I have started to feel like I cannot breathe on social media. I don’t want to be ignorant; I am desperate to prove that I am an ally and that I am working to help make a change and see a difference. I want to try help alleviate the pain and suffering that all these people are going through, all the while fearing that my own people may be contributing towards the issue.

So, social media has been difficult. I am grateful for the information it has given me, which allows me to be able to start conversations of my own. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel some sort of pressure as well. And yet, I have begun to realise that it’s my own ignorance and lack of knowledge that has been making me feel pressured. In my social media rampage to convey the point that Black lives matter and that everything happening has been inhumane and horrible, I used the “#AllLivesMatter” right underneath the “#BlackLivesMatter”. At the time, I thought I was doing a good job, I thought that by saying “#AllLivesMatter” I was saying we shouldn’t hold one race/class/system above or below another. I thought it was about equality. However, it took about 2 seconds after posting for me to come across a post explaining what #AllLivesMatter really was about. In a panic, I deleted my hashtag and felt such disappointment and disbelief in myself that I felt I wasn’t worthy enough to be advocating for #BlackLivesMatter. 

That is not a good mindset to have. After talking about it with friends and family, I came to terms with the fact that mistakes happen. Instead of letting the emotions associated with making a mistake keep me from trying harder and doing better, I should rectify the issue by promoting my newfound awareness. 

Therefore, my advice to every non-Black person who wants to make a difference and be an ally in this fight for justice is do your research and make sure you are aware of whatever it is you are saying. Your emotions and thoughts towards the Black Lives Matter movement are important and they matter. Nobody can fight a war alone, which is why we need to unify and show the world that this fight is all of ours. We are fighting for humanity; we are fighting for our friends and family.

To my fellow Black friends and family: I am devastatingly sorry for the marginalisation, stigmatisation and racialisation you experience, as well as the pain and hurt you must continuously be going through. Words alone can neither explain nor express how much I wish things were different, but I will do my best to stand as your ally and your friend to help work towards a better and more hopeful future. 

Taking a stand is hard work, but it is worth it. When you start using the voice you have for the people and the lives around you, it is liberating. You become a part of something larger than individual life and you are able to contribute to something even more meaningful: saving, preserving, aiding and becoming part of a nation and society that sees equality, equity, humanity and unbiased love as a priority. 



Final year UCT student, studying towards a Bachelors of Arts Degree. Majoring in: English, Language and Literature; Film & Television as well as Media & Editing.