S'bu Zikode & Richard Pithouse debating Pallo Jordan on the Record of the ANC - Oslo, 22 November 2012Submitted by Abahlali_3 on Thu, 2013-01-17 10:45. Liv Tørres | Marikana | Pallo Jordan | police | Richard Pithouse | S'bu Zikode | The Norwegian Council for Africa | The Politics of Dignity | The Right to the City | video
Abahlali baseMjondolo Takes the Minister of Police to Court to Account for Police Repression in DurbanSubmitted by Abahlali_3 on Tue, 2012-12-04 14:51. Abahlali baseMjondolo | censorship | court | Glen Nayager | Nondumiso Mke | Philani Zungu | police | S'bu Zikode
4 December 2012
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Abahlali baseMjondolo Takes the Minister of Police to Court to Account for Police Repression in Durban
On the 12th of September 2006 S'bu Zikode and Philani Zungu, then the chairperson and deputy chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo, were arrested on their way to a radio interview and subject to severe assault in the Sydenham Police Station. When people in the nearby Kennedy Road shack settlement rallied in support of Zikode and Zungu they were attacked by the police and Nondumiso Mke was shot in her knee with live ammunition. The arrest and assault from police at the hands of the police was highly politicised and followed intimidation from senior politicians that including a warning that the movement must stop its communication with the media. For background to this see the statement online at http://abahlali.org/node/72
The Struggle to Affirm the Dignity of the Poor in a Society in which we don’t Count
by S’bu Zikode, Presented in Mexico City on 6th August 2012
Before Abahlali baseMjondolo was formed the shack dwellers in South Africa were considered by government and some other people in our society to be the undeserving poor. This claim came as the result of the perception that the poor are lazy, uneducated and people who do not think and therefore do not count the same as other human beings. The general public, civil society and the media could not defend the poor against this indignity. The media had little or nothing to report on anything that surrounds shack dwellers, be it good or bad, that considered us as human beings or citizens. We were mostly seen as a threat to society – as a problem to be controlled. When shacks were on fire radios and televisions would not air or broadcast this. On the other side the state would refuse any provision of basic services to the shack settlements or to engage us as citizens. We have always been considered as people who cannot think for ourselves. Someone from somewhere else would always be hired and paid to think for us, to represent us and to take decisions on our behalf. This has been the state mentality towards the poor. It has also been the mentality of most NGOs and of most of civil society. It has also been the mentality of what we have called the regressive left – that part of the left that thinks that its job is to think for the poor rather than with the poor. The rights that we have on paper were always refused in reality. This included our rights as citizens and our rights to the cities. Whenever we asked for our rights to be respected, for our humanity to be recognized, we were presented as troublemakers, as people that were being used by others, or as criminals. Our request to participate in the discussions about our own lives was taken as a threat.
12 July 2012
Wits Public Interest Law Gathering
The Organized Poor and Law as a Tool for Social Change
by S'bu Zikode
It gives me a great honor to be invited to participate in the Wits Public Interest Law Gathering. I wish to thank SERI for the invitation.
It has always been clear to us that there can only be laws and policies that take the lives of poor people seriously when the poor have built our own power in the society. It has also always been clear to us that the political will to implement progressive laws and policies will only be there if the poor remain permanently organized and strong.
Wednesday 06 June 2012
Hear S'bu Zikode (Abahlali baseMjondolo),
Marie Huchzermeyer (Wits University) and
Live Music with Nosihe and the Afrocentrics!
Date: 22 June
Time: starting at 13.00
Venue: Church Land Programme offices, 340 Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg
RSVP: Cindy (email: email@example.com or tel: 033 2644 380)
Church Land Programme is honoured to host two of this country's leading experts on the politics of urban housing and land.
Zikode, chairperson of the South African shack-dweller movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, is widely acknowledged for his courageous articulation of a 'living politics' that emerged from within the thought and struggles of shackdwellers. S'bu will speak to a recent short paper he was asked to prepare on “Rethinking the State's Housing Programme” (at: http://abahlali.org/node/8807). He argues that “[t]here will only be laws and policies that take the lives of poor people seriously when the poor have built our own power in society. … To solve our problems we would have to somehow think about a society driven economy, that is an economy designed and led by people”.
17 May 2012
Rethinking the State's Housing Programme: Finding a sustainable and responsive solution to the need for adequate shelter and the right to the city
by S'bu Zikode
I wish to submit and insist that it will be disastrous to commit our contributions to economic growth instead of social growth and the development of the poor. The problem with this is that economic growth for the rich often does not help the poor - sometimes it happens by oppressing the poor. We cannot continue to support the rich to get richer while the poor are getting poorer in the hope that one day the poor will also get some of this wealth. We have to start with the urgent needs of the poor - with the urgent needs that people have today.
Poor People’s Movements and the Law
by S'bu Zikode, Wits University, 2 December 2011
I wish to thank the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa for organising this seminar to discuss the law and social movements. I also wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA, to extend our deepest gratitude to SERI for all the legal struggles they have shared with us in support of our right to organise for our rights to land and housing, our right to the cities and our right to human dignity.
Abahlali has a lot of experience to share on this important topic. It is true that in Abahlali we are working very hard to build the power of the poor from below. It is true that doing this through organising and mobilizing is not easy. It is also true this kind of work needs a lot of popular education through a new spirit of Abahlalism. We need to build a spirit of political and economical consciousness through constant discussion and reflection on our situation and our struggle. A spirit that recognises that we are poor because we were made poor and that we must work hard to unite the poor in order to resist this poverty imposed on us. A spirit that we can win this battle against all forces that refuse us land and freedom, forces that want to keep us confined in the dark corners of our society.
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
“We are all S’bu Zikode”
Abahlali baseMjondolo is a movement of the poor that struggles to protect, promote and advance the dignity of the poor in South Africa. One of our roles is to bring the government to the people and the people to the government.
We have marched to take our demands to councillors, mayors, premiers and the president. We have had many meetings but in Durban, the city where our movement was founded six years ago, we have never, despite all the marches, ever had a meeting with the mayor to discuss our demands.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Berlin University, Germany
Upgrades v Evictions
I wish to thank Misereor and the Habitat Unit of Berlin University for inviting me to speak on 'Upgrading Urban Shack Settlements' at this meeting on people centered upgrading approaches. Abahlali baseMjondolo has a lot of experience on this important issue and I will do my best to share that experience with all of you here today.
Before I begin it is important for me, on behalf of Abahlali baseMjondolo, to thank Klaus Teschner and Misereor for their support when we were facing serious repression. One of the great weakness of our democracy is that the legal system is commodified. This is one reason why the state is often happy to force the struggles of the poor into the courts. It is very easy for the state and other elites to isolate the struggles of the poor by criminalising the struggles of the poor. If we enter the courts without good legal representation, which costs money, we are in a very dangerous situation. Misereor has enabled us to enter the courts with good legal representation and this has meant that we could get a fair hearing there. We also want to thank Klaus's comrade, Knut Unger, who has hosted our comrades here in Germany and has done so much to organise political support for our struggles, especially when we are facing repression.
S'bu Zikode's talk at the 30th anniversary of the 1981 protests against the Springbok tour of New Zealand
South Africa’s Great Change
I wish to thank Global Peace and Justice, in Auckland, for inviting me to New Zealand to speak on the progress of post-apartheid South Africa and the birth of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA. I also wish to thank Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA, the movement that I am part of, for trusting me with the responsibility of representing it.
I also wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the anti-apartheid movement here in New Zealand who stood firm with the people of South Africa in the fight against apartheid. Many of our older comrades remember watching, on TV, the protests that you organised against the Springbok tour in 1981. There were thousands of you, many thousands of you. You were attacked by the police. Many of you were beaten and arrested. Your protests were a deep shock to the racists in South Africa. It made them realise that although Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher accepted their racism ordinary people in New Zealand did not. Your protests also gave courage to the people struggling against apartheid in South Africa. You were workers, priests, teachers, housewives and students. You were men and women. You were old and young. You were people in New Zealand who made people in South Africa know that they were not alone in this world. The comrades who were of that generation remember how your brave protests made their hearts sing with joy and hope back in 1981.