It’s that time of the year, where we buy illegal firecrackers and go tekeure… but at what cost?
Over the past few decades, South Africans have drastically changed their celebration of Guy Fawkes. I remember my pa telling me that when he was growing up, he and his friends used to get into a kruiwa and knock on the door of their neighbours. I guess they would entertain them and get a penny or two in return. Fast forward almost a century later and you get laities smearing nugget on innocent people’s faces, throwing vrot eiers at them or worse.
A genuine question to the public, how did it get this way?
History of Guy Fawkes
Although celebrated in our country (and many others), Guy Fawkes isn’t even a recognised South African holiday. The “holiday” actually comes from England.
History on the Net states that the event dates back to 1605, the year when a group of Catholic extremists – which included Guy Fawkes – planned to assassinate King James l in order to get a catholic monarch on the throne. Guy Fawkes was put in charge of watching the explosives that were put under British Parliament (could this be where the firecrackers come in?).
Guy was then arrested and the assassination never took place. People then lit bonfires all over London to celebrate their King’s survival. A few months later, the “Observance of 5th November Act” was passed as an annual public holiday.
Why do we celebrate it?
Do the laities of today even know why it is celebrated? Or who Guy Fawkes even is?
The only reason I can think of is that South Africa was colonised by the British, and they passed their traditions and celebrations on to our ancestors. But again, how did it get to this violent and inconsiderate state?
Die stad praat
It is quite sad that violence has to be linked to this day.
IOL shared a statement that was made on Wednesday by the City’s MayCo member for safety and security JP Smith, where he said, “I’ve been very clear in the past that this outdated tradition needs to stop. Apart from the indiscriminate letting off of fireworks that disturb the piece and terrorise animals and communities, the senseless violence directed at motorists and pedestrians can simply not be condoned.”
Limakatso Khalianyane, the Working On Fire communications officer, also told the publication that residents are urged to refrain from discharging fireworks as they could ignite veld fires.
Smith also made it clear that retailers were not allowed to sell fireworks sonne permits and the items should not be sold to or handled by under 16s. Residents too are not permitted to discharge fireworks in public areas sonne permits.
Please be safe and responsible – and asseblief tog keep your pets inside.