Lately, when the police are caught on camera, it is seldom a happy occasion. And with the avalanche of technology that has invaded social interactions, one would expect members of the force to be exemplary when going about their duties in the public eye. The latest video clip shows police officers manhandling a blind musician in South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town. It went viral and was even broadcast on television to the disgust of the public.
Lungile Goodman Nono is blind and unemployed. He is a musician and performs for donations at the Greenmarket Square which is a popular tourist spot. It a market lined with stalls offering African art, books, clothing and accessories. Travelers and locals enjoy meals at the trendy restaurants all around the square. On Monday, patrons at Greenmarket Square looked on helplessly as Nono was pulled and dragged by police along the passages in the square.
Amateur video footage taken by a cell phone shows the police struggling with Nono while his wife wails in the background. The video seems to have been shot from one of the neighboring buildings. Nono and his wife were eventually taken in a police van to the police station. The unemployed, blind musician was fined R 1 500. Nono received this hefty fine despite the fact that he has a permit from the court allowing him to be at the Greenmarket Square performing his songs.
On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported on a march organized by Cape Town celebrities to protest the harsh treatment of Nono by the police. St George’s Mall was the meeting place for the protesters and fellow musicians came out in their numbers singing “Give Peace A Chance” and waving banners. The signs were plastered with words like “Take Steve Hofmeyer instead”; “He’s a guitaRIST not a terroRIST” and “Justice is blind”. Nono and his wife received a few hundred rands in donations at the site where he once received a fine of R15 000 for playing his guitar. This morning Nono “started from the bottom” with one broken guitar, now he has several guitars which were donated to him including one from award-winning guitarist Tony Cox.
A spokesperson for the Cape Town police told the media that the force does not condone such brutal behavior by any of its members. An investigation is under way and the police officers in the video have been suspended.