Testimony from Brother Filippo Mondini

Brother Mondini’s testimony was also published in the Mercury on 30 September 2009 as Abahlali baseMjondolo Is Not A Criminal Movement and, on the same day, in the Daily News as Government is persecuting Abahlali

Testimony from Brother Filippo Mondini

I spent 4 years working with Abahlali. It was a wonderful and deep experience. I had occasion of meeting wonderful people, courageous and committed comrades. I have never met criminals during our democratic meetings. On the contrary I met and listened to men and women which had the courage to say: enough!

These man and women showed to me the meaning of dignity. They are poor, they live in shacks, they have nothing, but they are rich in dignity.

Abahlali is a great gift to humanity. But it seems it’s a hard one to listen to because Abahlali is like a mirror of what we could be.

I spent 4 years working with Ababhlali and this is not the first time that they are under attack. We stood together during the Kennedy Six trial, we stood together during various demonstrations and marches. We have been beaten by police during a prayer, we marched together on Nyager when we said to him: “You have vandalized our humanity…”.

During my time in South Africa I have witnessed police repression, political violence and intimidations towards the movement. I spent most of my time working in a particular settlement where local ANC members threatened and oppressed people. In that context it was a very courageous act to participate to Abahlali meetings. Yes I witnessed violence, but it was always state violence. It was the state who sent armed police, it was the state and its councilor who intimidate people…

The attack of these days is another evidence that the state cannot hear the truth especially because now poor people are screaming this truth. Today, again and again, we understand that the state and its police is afraid of Abahlali. They are trying to destroy it but they only obtain the opposite effect.

I want to say thanks to all you comrades for your commitment, because you are making this world a better place to leave in. I want to give thanks especially to our leader S’bu Zikode. His commitment as Abahlali leader had been really costly for him. He is a wonderful person, gentle and good, always available to listen to everyone. He is not a criminal, he is an hero. Professional politicians should take example from him.

Let us stand together. The world knows that Abahlali is not a bunch of criminals but a prophetical movement who stands for the truth. The world is watching now…

Brother Filippo Mondini

Comboni Missionary (Catholic Church) Italy, Castelvolturno