“We will build houses for you, it is not something we can achieve overnight”
– Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, 1994 [link to video]
“We have learned that by demanding decent housing we make enemies, and that by occupying land we make those enemies even more ruthless. But we cannot wait in the mud, shit and fire of shack life forever.”
– S’bu Zikode, founding President of Abahlali baseMjondolo, 2013 [link to text]
In South Africa, two black women were violently killed by probable state actors to little public reckoning. These women though killed in separate instances were both active members of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) the shack-dwellers movement which has challenged local ANC rule for better housing and exposed local corruption.
Housing activists in New York, London and Budapest have called protests over the weekend in solidarity with all housing activists in South Africa facing repression particularly AbM. This has action has been sparked by the recent murder of Thuli Ndlovu and police inaction over several deaths of political activists. They will be using the hashtag: #HandsOffAbahlali to highlight their action. There is also a solidarity petition demanding justice which you can sign here: bit.ly/help-abm
New York City – Picture The Homeless
Date: Friday 21st November 2014
Time: 3pm (local time – EST) – 4pm
Location: The South African Consulate 333 E 38th St, New York, NY 10016
London – Abahlali UK Solidarity
Date: Saturday 22nd November 2014
Time: 2pm (local time – GMT) – 3pm
Location: South Africa High Commission, South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1549088555302801/
Budapest – A Város Mindenkié (The City is for All)
Date: Monday 24th November 2014
Time: 4pm (local time – GMT+1) – 5:30pm
Location: South Africa Embassy, 1026 Budapest, Gárdonyi Géza utca 17
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1555104088041514/
On 30th September 2013, Nqobile Nzuzua, a 17 year old school girl, protested outside as police came to assist an eviction. South African Police fired live ammunition at the protesters, and as Nqobile turned her back presumably to run away, several bullets pierced her back and the back of her head which fatally wounded her. It is a bitter irony that Nzuzua’s family home was a shack, built on an informal settlement called Marikana Land Occupation, in memory of the miners who had been massacred the previous year. The South African Police claimed they shot her in self-defence as they did at Marikana.
Almost a year to the day, on 29th September 2014, Thuli Ndlovu, Chairperson of the KwaNdengezi branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo was gunned down while she lay in her bed in her home. She had feared that this day would come as a local ANC Councillor Mduduzi Ngcobo, had previously this year assaulted AbM members and threatened to shoot anti-eviction protesters. On the day she died, she told her mother she had seen Councillor Mduduzi Ngcobo firing shots outside her home. The councillor at the time of writing has not been questioned regarding Thuli’s murder.
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