The teachers’ strike against low salaries and poor working conditions in 2010 invoked memories of the 1980s and 1990s popular resistance against the apartheid government. The apartheid government invoked the state of emergency and outlawed any form of protest or demonstrations. The 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa recognises peaceful demonstration as a constitutional right and offers processes to resolve conflicts peacefully. This begs the question: why did teachers embark on violent strikes instead of dialogue? Why did they turn against the government at the centre of the tripartite alliance? This article argues that violent strikes are a continuation of a culture of militancy dating back to the armed-struggle in the 1980s, not only to pressurise the government to accede to the demands of the workers, but also as an extension of contact, dialogue and ideology.
Key words: Teachers, protest, memories of the past, politics, education system.
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