Our sadness on UnFreedom Day

27 04 2011

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
27 April 2011
For the poor in South Africa, there is no freedom.
Today from 10am till 2pm, the movements will come to QQ Section Informal Settlement for an UnFreedom Day rally.  QQ was the victim of a huge shack fire just before Christmas in 2010 so the location is fitting for our Shack Fire Summit. Read the rest of this entry »

Invitation to the Cape Town Shack Fire Summit

26 04 2011

Website: khayelitshastruggles.com or http://www.abahlali.org
Email: abmwesterncape@abahlali.org office admin: 0732562036/073 4128 218

The above mentioned organization would like to invite your organization/ community/ area to a SHACK FIRE SUMMIT that will be held at QQ informal settlement site B Khayelitsha on 27 April 2011 from 10:00am to 13:00pm.

The aim of the event is to:

1. Light candles in memory of those who lose their lives within shack fire and the victims of shack fires.
2. Explore the course of shack fire, governmental intervention, and other humanitarian intervention
3. To come up with a program/ campaign to call for electrification of all shack settlement
For further details and direction please call our admin @ 073 412 8218

On behalf of ABM WC
Mzonke Poni
M WC Chairperson)
073 2562 036/ 083 446 5081

AEC actions and events – April 22 to May 1

30 04 2009

A lot has happened in AEC communities in the past week.  Here are some links:

  • April 22 – AEC communities such as Newfields Village, Symphony Way, Leiden, Athlone, Gugulethu, Crossroads refused to vote in this year’s elections.
  • April 27 – Symphony Way AEC hosted the Anti-Eviction Campaign’s first annual un-Freedom Day with participation from four other Delft communities, residents of QQ Section in Khayelitsha, and the Gugulethu and Athlone AEC.  The event included the following activities: soccer, netball, youth plays, discussions and a braai for all participants.
  • April 29 – Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) illegally evicted a Town Centre (Mitchell’s Plain) family and plans to evict many more.  Call Johannes at 071-416-0250 for more information.

Upcoming AEC issues and events to follow:

  • April 30 – Residents of Town Centre in Mitchell’s Plain will resist any eviction that takes place.  Call Johannes at 071-416-0250 for more information about future actions.  Press release on the situation to follow tomorrow night.
  • April 30 (noon) – Gugulethu AEC surprise action this morning.  Call Mncedisi at 078-580-8646 for more information.
  • May 1 (daytime) – New AEC branch in Old Crossroads will hold a mass meeting Friday May 1.  Call Mncedisi at 078-580-8646 for info, contact and directions.
  • May 1 (evening) – Symphony Way AEC to host a karaoke benefit in Delft to raise funds for upcomming eviction case.  Call Aunty Jane at 078 403 1302 or Mnce Plaajies at 079 305 1066 for information about the case and the benefit.

Media: Homeless mark ‘un-Freedom Day’

29 04 2009
April 28, 2009 Edition 1
Source: Cape Argus

2009_04_27 unFreedom Day

AS SOUTH Africans celebrated 15 years of democracy, the pavement dwellers of Symphony Way marked what they termed “un-Freedom Day”.

The families, facing eviction from the pavement they decided to occupy more than a year ago after being kicked out of newly-built houses destined for other families, yesterday hosted visitors from other informal settlements in Khayelitsha and Philippi, along with backyard dwellers from Guguletu.

“We decided to host this event because people say we are free, while we are not. If we are free, why are we living on a road and some people in shacks in informal settlements?” questioned Anti-Eviction Campaign spokeswoman Jane Roberts.

The small community of 127 families held a series of sporting events, and put on plays which reflected their lives.

“We have a netball team, and football teams here. We invited other teams from around Delft to come and play here,” Roberts said.

“The children put on a play which showed what happened when we were evicted from the houses, and when police came here to give us court orders.”

She said she was happy to see the children who live in Symphony Way having a day of play, just like normal children.

“It was nice seeing children playing and enjoying themselves.”

Aphiwe Mlandu, of Site B in Khayelitsha, said she decided to join the activities, because she too was not free.

“I might not be staying on a pavement, but I am in the same situation as the people of Symphony Way because I also live in a shack,” she said.

“The rain started last week already and we are living in fear. Some of us will have to leave our homes and stay with relatives for the rest of winter,” she said.


Abahlali baseMjondolo to Mourn UnFreedom Day on 27 April 2009

24 04 2009

Note: AEC coordinators will be joining Abahlali in Durban.  In Cape Town, many AEC communities will be mourning Unfreedom Day in their own communities.   Symphony Way, for instance, will be having a number of events including a netball game and a play put on by the children.

Friday, April 24, 2009
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Walala Wasala, Wavuka Usuhlala ema-Thini

Monday 27 April will mark the 15th anniversary of the first democratic elections in South Africa. Once again the poor will be herded into stadiums so that the politicians can tell the people to celebrate their freedom. Once again Abahlali baseMjondolo will be decelebrating. We will be holding our fourth annual UnFreedom Day.

On the Sunday before unFreedom Day we will launch the beautiful new crèche that has been built in the Motala Heights settlement.The Motala Diggers have already been running a large community garden for sometime and the community have now decided to take the initiative and to build and run their own crèche.

On unFreedom Day a major announcement will be made about the next step in the movement’s ongoing struggle with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Housing and their notorious Slums Act.

The unFreedom Day event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be held in the Kennedy Road settlement in Clare Estate, Durban. We will be joined by comrades from all of the organisations that make up the Poor People’s Alliance – Abahlali baseMjondolo in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, as well as the Rural Network from KwaZulu-Natal, the Landless People’s Movement from Gauteng and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign. The eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee will also attend the event and participate in all the discussions leading up to it. Read the rest of this entry »

From Cité Soleil (Haiti) to Durban (South Africa) where Freedom Day is now being seen as Unfreedom Day.

21 05 2008

by Jacques Depelchin
May 14, 2008

This is a brief report from a visit to Durban, specifically to see for oneself places like Kennedy Road, Motala Heights, to meet with people like S’bu Zikode and Shamita Naidoo whose words continue to impact us in a way which is still generating new thinking. We were on our way to meet people who can be described as the staunchest defenders of the poor, and, by extension, of humanity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bishop Rubin Phillip’s UnFreedom Day Speech

30 04 2008




For many years the courage and dignity of our people under oppression was a light to the world.

There was a time when our country was a light to the world. But that light has grown so dim that there is a real danger of it being extinguished altogether.

Today millions of our people live in shacks in life threatening conditions, constantly at risk of fire and disease because they have no electricity or sanitation, while we build stadiums, casinos and theme parks.

Today we are, once again, forcing the poor out of our cities to rural townships where there are no jobs or schools or prospects for hope.

Today our brothers and sisters are being beaten and tortured by the criminal state in Zimbabwe and, when they have fled to our country for sanctuary, beaten and burnt out of their homes by ordinary South Africans and deported by our government.

Today women are still not safe in our country.

Today schools are still not safe in our country.

Today some see political office as a route to mastery over the people instead of a vocation of service to the people.

Jesus took his message to the poor, not the Rabbis – the experts of his day. Today when we do remember the suffering of ordinary people we tend to go to experts and to seek answers from their laptops rather than to the people themselves. The poor are even excluded from the discussions about their fate.

But in this darkness the courage, dignity and gentle determination of Abahlali baseMjodolo has been a light that has shone ever more brightly over the last three years. You have faced fires, sickness, evictions, arrest, beatings, slander, and still you stand bravely for what is true. Your principle that everyone matters, that every life is precious, is very simple but it is also utterly profound.

Many of us who hold dear the most noble traditions of our country take hope from your courage and your dignity just as we take hope from the recent actions of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and the courage of so many ordinary people of Zimbabwe. A clear and compelling call to conscience has been issued and we will listen and we will act.

I know that this is a difficult time for your movement. I know that last weekend a candle was knocked over in the Jadu Place settlement and two hours later 1 600 people had lost their homes and all their possessions. I know that this year there have already been terrible fires in the Foreman Road settlement and right here in Kennedy Road. It is unacceptable that the poorest people in our cities must live with this plague of fire. Today I am making a strong and clear call to our Municipality, and to the Municipalities of all our cities across the country, for immediate action to stop these fires. The settlements must be electrified, fire hydrants provided and access roads for fire engines built.

I know that people in your movement continue to face unlawful evictions. It is a matter of deep concern that the poorest people in our city living the most precarious lives should also have to face this plague. Our Christian faith requires that we honour our neighbours. There is no honour in illegal evictions that expel the poor from the city. I know that when you have been able you have gone to court to stop unlawful evictions and that the judges have always found in your favour. Today I am making a strong and clear call to our Municipality, and the Municipalities of all our cities across the country, to declare every part of our country an evictions free zone. Today I promise to call a meeting between yourselves and other organizations to see how we can build an alliance between churches, lawyers, shack dwellers and others against unlawful evictions and for the clear and public assertion of the right to the city for all.

I know that your movement has suffered terrible abuse at the hands of the police when you have tried to exercise your basic democratic rights. In September last year I was very pleased to be part of a group of 12 church leaders that condemned a violent police attack on a peaceful and legal protest by your movement. Even some clergy were beaten that day. Today I affirm that you have every right to express your views in this country. Today I promise that next time you march I and others from the church will march with you again.

I know that your movement organises crèches, support for abused women, legal support for people facing eviction, support for families whose children are being forced out of schools because they cannot pay fees, support for people who have lost their homes in fires and much, much more without donor support. Today I promise to mobilise the churches to offer practical support to your movement and to the work that you are doing.

Jesus Christ was a poor man. His disciples were poor men. He ministered to poor women and men. When our society and our world rejects the humanity of the poor it rejects the core of the message of Christ. What ever is done to the least of our sisters and brothers is done also to God. For too long our city and our country and our world have put the poor last on the list of concerns. It is time for the last to be first.

Bishop Rubin Phillip
27th April 2008

Response to the Shack-dwellers’ UNFREEDOM DAY event from Christian Aid in Wales

26 04 2008

Source: Abahlali baseMjondolo

We are here from Christian Aid in Wales and also as representatives of The Union of Welsh Independents, who are the Congregational Churches in Wales, UK. We thank you for welcoming us to join in this event and to be part of your struggle for true and meaningful freedom.

We have not come to offer answers but to question and discover.

We have come to show compassion and solidarity with the marginalized.

We have come here to listen and to observe.

By listening and observing,

We have heard and we have seen.

By listening we have heard -

We have heard the voice of ordinary people asking for clean water, for electricity, better sanitation within their communities and asking not to be disbursed and moved out of their rooted local environment.

We have heard the voice of ordinary people pleading for change and for freedom.

We have also heard promises but we are yet to see action.

By observing we have seen -

We have seen the appalling conditions and the lack of facilities.

We have seen the lack of opportunities.

We have seen the suffering of families and the effect on children and the vulnerable.

We are waiting to see the practical response of those who are in a position to make a difference.

While celebrating political freedom for the nation, how long will ordinary people have to wait before they have the freedom to live normal lives, free from the oppression of poverty? We would like to hear the replies, the announcement of the intentions of those in authority, how and when will change really happen for the poor. When will freedom really come to the Shack-dwellers?

Tom T Defis.

Visit http://www.surefish.co.uk – the ethically-minded online magazine from Christian Aid


Abahlali baseMjondolo to Mourn UnFreedom Day Once Again

22 04 2008

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Release
Monday 21 April 2008

Event: Unfreedom Day
Time: 9:00 a.m., Sunday 27 April 2008
Venue: Community Hall, Kennedy Road Shack Settlement, Clare Estate, Durban

On Sunday it will be Freedom Day again. Once again we will be asked to go into stadiums to be told that we are free. Once again we will not be going to the stadiums. We will, for the third time, be mourning UnFreedom Day. Since the last UnFreedom Day we have been beaten, shot at and arrested by the police; evicted by the land invasions unit; disconnected from electricity by Municipal Security; forcibly removed to rural human dumping grounds by the Municipalities; banned from marching by the eThekwini City Manager; slandered by all those who want followers not comrades; intimidated by all kinds of people who demand the silence of the poor; threatened by new anti-poor laws; burnt in the fires; sick in the dirt and raped in the dark nights looking for a safe place to go the toilet.

We have also opened an office with a library, launched many new branches, successfully taken the eThekwini Municipality to court to stop evictions, taken the province to court to overturn the Slums Act, marched on Glen Nayager and Obed Mlaba, defended all of our members arrested for standing strong in the politics of the poor, organised in support of people struggling elsewhere, received powerful solidarity from other movements and some churches and thought and discussed how to make our own homemade politics, our living politics, into paths out of unfreedom.

It is clear that no one should tell someone else that they are free. Each person must decide for themselves if their life is free. Each community must decide on this matter for themselves. In each community women and men, the young and the old, the people born there and the people born in other places must decide on this matter for themselves.

In our movement we have often said that we are not free because we are forced to live without toilets, electricity, lighting, refuse removal, enough water or proper policing and, therefore, with fires, sickness and rape. We have often said that we are not free because our children are chased out of good schools and because we are being chased out of good areas and therefore away from education, work, clinics, sports fields and libraries. We have often said that we are not free because the politics of the poor is treated like a criminal offence by the Municipalities while real criminals are treated like business partners. We have often said that we are not free because the councillors are treated like the people’s masters instead of their servants. We have often said that we are not free because even many of the people who say that they are for the struggles of the poor refuse to accept that we can think for ourselves.

We have often asked that our settlements be humanized, not destroyed. We have often asked that city planning be democratized. We have often asked for an end to wasting money on stadiums and themeparks and casinos while people don’t have houses. We have often asked that democracy be a bottom up rather than a top down system. We have often asked the Municipalities and the police to obey the law. We have often asked for solidarity in action with our struggles. We have often offered and asked for solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and Haiti and Turkey and in all the places where the poor are under attack.

But freedom is more than all of this. Freedom is a way of living not a list of demands to be met. Delivering houses will do away with the lack of houses but it won’t make us free on its own. Freedom is a way of living where everyone is important and where everyone’s experience and intelligence counts. Every Abahlali baseMjondolo branch and every settlement affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban, Pinetown, Pietermartrizburg and Tongaat has had a meeting to discuss the ways in which they are not free and has written a letter to the whole movement explaining why they are not free. Many new and important issues have been raised. These letters are being collected into a pamphlet that will be distributed at UnFreedom Day. We invite everyone who wants to think about Freedom and UnFreedom in our country to attend our event.

We welcome the participation of Christian Aid from Wales who have come to learn about our struggle

We welcome the participation of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, our comrades in struggle who are driving all the way from Cape Town to be with us.

We welcome the participation of Bishop Reuben Phillip and the other clergy who have bravely stood with us in difficult times.

At this time we express our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe suffering terrible oppression in their own country and terrible xenophobia in South Africa. We also express our solidarity with the people battling eviction in Joe Slovo and Delft in Cape Town and the whole Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign as well as the Landless Peoples’ Movement and all organisations, big and small, standing up for the right to the city, the humanisation of the rural areas and for justice for the poor across the country. We also express our solidarity with the 1 500 people left homeless in the Jadhu Place settlement on Sunday morning after another of the fires that terrorize our people.

We salute the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and Bishop Reuben Philip for their active solidarity with the Zimbabwean people. We call on others to follow their example. We call on all clergy to stand with the poor. We call on the South African Municipal Workers’ Union to refuse to carry out any instructions to evict the poor from the cities. We call on the Police and Prison’s Civil Rights Union to refuse to carry out any orders to assault and arrest the poor for exercising their democratic rights to protest. Solidarity in action is our only hope.

No Land! No House! No Vote!
Land & Housing in the Cities!
Bottom Up Democracy not Top Down Rule by Councilors!

For information or comment please contact:

Abahlali baseMjondolo:

Mr Mnikelo Ndabankulu, Abahlali baseMjondolo Spokesperson, 0797450653
Ms Zodwa Nsibande, Abahlali baseMjondolo Organiser, 0828302707
Ms Shamita Naidoo, Chairperson, Motala Heights Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch, 0743157962
Mr Mashumi Figlan, Abahlali baseMjondolo Deputy-President, 0795843993

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign:

Mr. Mzonke Pone, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Co-ordinator, 0732562036
Mr. Gary Hartzenberg, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Co-ordinator, 0723925859


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