South Africans are known for toyi-toying at the drop of a hat, for just about anything.
In the media, we are familiar with protest season, when unions can easily call boycotts and stayaways once a week during wage negotiations. And often, the country experiences dozens of service delivery protests in between.
But last year was obviously an exception - as it was for everything else - and I don’t think we had even one significant protest in 2020.
Add to that the uncertainty of the times and the chronic cases of cabin fever that we are all feeling and it’s clear that the Covid lockdown is driving us all slowly bonkers.
That’s all I can think of to explain Saturday's protest over the closure of the beaches.
Hundreds of people took to the sand at closed beaches.
From Muizenberg to Melkbosstrand, they gathered with their placards shouting “open the beaches” to nobody in particular.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand their frustration with wanting to enjoy the great outdoors, especially with the beautiful weather we’ve been having.
Plus today is the start of the last month of summer, so of course there’s some anxiety about enjoying the beach, before it starts to cool down and head for winter.
But the beach is going nowhere and we are being asked for our disciplined support and understanding.
Lives are at stake, you see!
And in all seriousness, we’ve got so much more pressing things to worry about.
If they were toyi-toying on the beach demanding that the government feed the hungry, or address the spike in homelessness that is becoming more and more apparent as the lockdown drags on, I would perhaps be a little more empathetic.
They could’ve been protesting gangsterism, government corruption or any of the many vaccine logics currently making the rounds.
Any of those things would’ve made more sense than demanding to be allowed to sunbathe.
This pandemic has come to expose the precariousness of our economic systems, social structure and interdependence.
But it has also exposed just how blind many of our fellow citizens are to their own privilege.
And before you get triggered by that, just consider the fact that a few metres from where you were protesting for the right to picnic with your pooch on the beach, someone was unable to think straight because of their growling tummy.
This pandemic has taught us many lessons. But many didn’t get the lesson on priorities.