South Africa: Grassroots activists mourn UnFreedom Day, to mark the hard-fought freedoms still unwon

Friday 26 April , 2013
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA — Press Statement

UnFreedom Day in Durban

UnFreedom Day, 2012, Durban, Azania (South Africa)

UnFreedom Day, 2012, Durban, Azania (South Africa)

Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA, a democratic and membership based organization, has held its UnFreedom Day event in Durban every year since 2006. This year UnFreedom Day will be held in Durban and in Cape Town.

UnFreedom Day will be mourned at the eThekwini College, Springfield (adjacent to the Kennedy Road shack settlement) in Durban on 28 April 2013 and at the Sweet Home Farm Community Hall in Philippi in Cape Town on 27 April 2013. The event will begin at 09:00 in the morning in both cities.

We wish to acknowledge all the sacrifices made by many South Africans in the name of freedom and all of the gains that have been won. We also wish to salute all the international communities who fought hard with us to defeat apartheid. But we are sure that this is not the real freedom that so many people struggled and had suffered for. We do not want in any way to undermine the struggles of the past or the real gains that have been won. But who can say that they are really free when they must live without land, without homes, without jobs and without dignity? Who can say that they are really free when they do not have the right to organise freely and safely? Who can say that they are really free when women are not safe? Who can say that they are really free when they are being forced out of the city and taken to human dumping grounds in the middle of nowhere? Continue reading

Dear Mandela — a film on the new generation of struggle and hope in South Africa

Theatrical Trailer — When their shantytowns are threatened with mass eviction, three ‘young lions’ of South Africa’s new generation rise from the shacks and take their government to the highest court in the land, putting the promises of democracy to the test.
DEAR MANDELA was awarded the ‘Best South African Documentary’ prize after its World Premiere at the Durban International Film Festival.  See http://www.dearmandela.com for more information

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Thu, 2012-09-27

Dear Mandela

A film review by Louis Proyect, The Unrepentant Marxist

It would be impossible to overstate the importance of “Dear Mandela”, a documentary now showing at the IndieScreen Theater in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn through tomorrow evening. After a decade or more of Hollywood movies like “Invictus” or “In My Country” that can best be described as public relations for the ANC, a fierce documentary directed by Dara Kell, a South African now living in the U.S., and Christopher Nizza, finally catches up with reality–a system of economic apartheid has replaced one based on race.

Just as the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 helped galvanize a movement against racial apartheid, the slaughter of 36 miners in Marikana creates the political context for a new freedom struggle based on class. To understand how South Africa has entered a new terrain of struggle, there is no better introduction than “Dear Mandela”, a film that focuses on the struggle against slum clearance in the name of “development” that took place in the outskirts of Durban. We meet three young activists of Abahlali baseMjondolo (Residents of the Shacks) who are committed to the rights of the poor to live in informal settlements. Despite the promise of President Nelson Mandela that every South African would have the right to a decent home, the new ANC pushed through legislation that would give the government the right to demolish the shacks that the poor were forced to live in. Each day “Red Ants”–work crews in red coveralls–come to the slums and raze their shacks to the ground and each day community members rebuild them. They had learned that ANC promises to build new homes were empty. Continue reading

South Africa: “Occupy Grahamstown!” – statement by the Unemployed Peoples Movement

[Another step for the worldwide movement against capitalism with its illegitimate wealth and authority, this time in South Africa.  Abahlali baseMjondolo, (Unemployed Peoples Movement) has issued this call:  “…our state is rotten to the core. Until we can build enough people’s power to be able to discipline the state from below we will have to treat it as what it is, a vehicle from the predatory elite to feed off society….The capitalists in Europe are saying that the people must pay for the banks to be recapitalised. We say that it is time to stop all public subsidies for the rich. We say that it is time for the banks to recapitalise the people.  Abahlali baseMjondolo has correctly insisted that the poor were made poor by the same economic system that made the rich rich.” — Frontlines ed.]

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13 October 2011

Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement — “Occupy Grahamstown!  Recapitalise the Poor!”
As a movement of the poor we have taken great inspiration from the rebellion that has spread from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Syntagma Square in Athens, the Puerta del Sol in Madrid and now Liberty Plaza in New York. Our comrades in Students for Social Justice have been just as inspired by the growing spirit of rebellion that is jumping, like a fire, from country to country.

On Saturday we will occupy Grahamstown. The students will march into town from the Botanical Gardens. We will march into town from the township and the squatter camps. We will meet on the square at the Cathedral. We will turn that square into a people’s university, a people’s kitchen and a space of people’s power. Our aim is to bring the rebellion of the poor, the rebellion that has put thousands and thousands on the streets of South Africa in recent years, into dialogue with this global rebellion. The alliance between organised students and the organised unemployed is strong in Grahamstown. Together we can build strong foundations for the struggles to come. Continue reading

South Africa: Lack of housing, electricity and water fuels protests in Khayelitsha, Capetown

West Cape News, November 21, 2010

Lack of services remain the  core of ongoing Khayelitsha protests

 

Violent protests in Khayelitsha spread to Lansdowne Road yesterday forcing authorities to close a major thoroughfare, declaring it a no-go zone.

Four Golden Arrow buses, a government car carrying matric exam answers, private cars and trucks are among vehicles set ablaze over the last two weeks.  Last weekend a bus transporting children to a camp was also stoned, slightly injuring two children, and a pre-school was badly vandalized because the owner would not let residents hold a community meeting there. The streets in and around the TR Section Bongani informal are strewn with rubbish, rocks and burnt debris.

While the protests may have been sparked by shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo’s call for a month of service delivery protests over October, TR Section continues to burn.

As to who’s responsible, fingers seem to be pointed in all directions but it appears that while there are indications of political opportunism, the 2 500 residents of the informal settlement are genuinely frustrated over years of what they perceive as broken promises, and they have had enough.

Following the burning of three vehicles in TR Section on Tuesday November 11, ABM Western Cape chairperson Mzonke Poni released a statement blaming the ANC Youth League.  Poni said the ANCYL represented the “interests of the predatory elite within the ANC” and were aattempting to “hi-jack the legitimate struggles of the poor in Cape Town in an attempt to win back power from the DA”. Continue reading