3 February 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA Press Statement
Abahlali baseMjondolo Choir to Record
People who are living in shack settlements are often considered as people who are aimless, people who do not have a purpose in life. We are often regarded as a burden to the state. It is often believed that the shack settlement is a place of criminality.
When we resist our oppression we are slandered and repressed, even to the point of being murdered. We are supposed to remain in silence. We are suppose to know and keep to our place in an oppressive society. We are supposed to accept that our lives and our dignity will be undermined in the name of progress.
It is only through coming together in struggle that we can defend our dignity and humanity and build a world based on equality and justice. As repressive forces rise around the world democratic popular organisation will be the only way for the poor people of the world to defend themselves.
We have began our programme for the year with our first General Assembly for the year, attended by around 650 members from 34 branches.
Music, poetry, dance and theatre have always been important in our movement. Some of the artists that have grown in our movement have been well recognised outside of the movement. In 2007 the Dlamini King Brothers beat 108 other choirs to win the 11th Annual Isicathimiya Competition held at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban. This is the biggest and most important isicathimiya competition in South Africa. In January 2009 they released their debut album Hlis’uMoya.
We are now pleased to annouce that the Abahlali baseMjondolo Choir will have an opportunity to record their first CD at the Fort Hare University. This is a wonderful opportunity for the choir and for the movement. The Abahlali baseMjondolo Choir has been performing at Abahlali events and General Assemblies since 2015. They are all from the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest where they faced eviction more than 12 times. Their popularity in the movement led to them being adopted to be the Abahlali National Choir. The total number of members in the choir is 29, which comprises of 27 women and 2 men. Their songs mainly relate to the history and the journey of the movement. In their songs they mention those comrades who lost their lives in the struggle such as Nqobile Nzuza, Nkululeko Gwala and Thuli Ndlovu. The recording will begin on the 6th January.
Elton Rahanana, one of the poets in the movement, will also have an opportunity to record. His poems are about the struggle of the movement.
We all know that Fort Hare University is one the Institutions where many of our prominent political leaders in the Southern African region have been graduated. So we are very proud that our choir, which sings of the struggles of impoverished people, will now have this prestigious opportunity to also become part of the history of Fort Hare.
A number of our comrades have travelled the world doing solidarity work. This is very rare for people as poor as the shack dwellers. The recording of the choir is also very rare for such people. This sends a message to those who think that people living in shack settlement are people who cannot think, are criminals or people who do not want to do things themselves. This sends a message that we are also human being who count in society and that we do have talents like any other people.
The Death of 94 Patients in Gauteng
The death of 94 people, some from dehydration and starvation, who were trusted to the care of the provincial government in Gauteng shows, once again, that people who are black and impoverished do not count to this society. Our lives mean nothing. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones. Just as impoverished people cannot be accommodated in cities when land is commercialised so to we cannot be accommodated in the health system or the education system when they are commericalised. Land, education, health care and all the means for a safe and dignified life must be made freely available to the people.
Occupy. Resist. Develop.
For further information or comment please contact:
Thapelo Mohapi – 062 8925 323
Zandile Nsibande – 084 6139 772
Mzwakhe Mdlalose – 079 365 7912