There are a number of things you can do to support Abahlali. By visiting this site and finding out more, you're already helping to dispel the myths and misinformation around shack dweller communities and struggles. Abahlali is always keen to hear from you. Click here to contact Abahlali directly.
Money & Democratic Praxis
Abahlali have been very careful to develop and sustain a mode of organising that does not produce dependency on donors. Indeed, in the beginning the movement neither sought nor accepted any donor or NGO money at all and organised purely within its own resources. However over the years increasing repression has often resulted in unavoidable legal costs (although there is a slowly growing but much appreciated network of lawyers that do pro bono solidarity work). And now that Abahlali organises across the whole of Durban and into Pinetown, Tongaat, Pietermaritzburg, Port Shepstone and rural KwaZulu-Natal large collective actions, be they meetings, memorials or marches, require some support for transport costs. This is becoming increasingly expensive as the movement grows.
Abahlali have always resolutely refused 'breyani money' (money that seeks to co-opt or which has other strings attached) and has always been largely funded by the various resources (most of which are non-monetary) generated by members. However over the last couple of years small and generally ad hoc donations over which the movement has full democratic control have been accepted and have been vital to the movement's ability to, in particular, organise over a progressively wider geographic area and to survive increasing state repression. Nevertheless Abahlali's annual budget has always been significantly less than that of a modest annual salary for one NGO employee. Moreover the movement has been very careful to always organise in a way that is not dependent on donor support. The movement remains entirely unprofessionalised.
If you would like to donate to Abahlali baseMjondolo, please do so through the South Africa Development Fund. You can contact them here, or donate directly using a credit card via Network For Good by clicking on the button below. For your donation to reach the movement, please mark your check clearly "for Abahlali baseMjondolo" or, if donating by credit card, enter "For Abahlali baseMjondolo" in the designation space at Network For Good.
All decisions about money are taken collectively, publicly and democratically in the movement's open weekly meetings and all donations should therefore be channelled through the movement's official structures so that decisions about how to use the money can be taken in these meetings. Abahlali is a 100% volunteer organisations and no member is paid for any work undertaken for the organisation and no money is allocated to individuals – it all goes for collective expenses such as lawyers, bail, transport, sound hire etc as determined by the discussion at the weekly meetings.
Individuals in both the state and in and around a couple of left NGOs with vanguardist ambitions have circulated equally paranoid and untrue stories about who funds Abahlali with people in the state pointing to 'foreign intelligence agencies bent on destabilizing the country' and the NGOs pointing to each other and even, in one particularly bizarre instance of the paranoia so often displayed by would be vanguards when confronted by a genuine mass movement, pointing to the state! Given this propensity to slander the movement has, since it first accepted a donation, declared that it will make all details of all its finances 100% open not only to all members but to anyone who is interested. Abahlali has also declared that all of its meetings are always open to anyone who wishes to attend them.
The movement has gratefully accepted small donations for particular projects from Entraide et Fraternité, The Church Land Programme, X-Y, The South Africa Development Fund, Anarchist Black Cross, ecumenical church organisations and War on Want all of which have sought to support Abahlali's own decision making with regard to what it stands for, how it struggles and how it chooses to spend its money.
Furthermore Amnesty International have helped with certain legal costs and Mute Magazine, People's House and the Onyx Foundation have invested books, journals and films in the University of Abahlali baseMjondolo library. Friends of Workers' Education in South Africa have also made substantial donations to the Abahlali baseMjondolo library.
The Freedom of Expression Institute, the Open Democracy Advice Centre and the Centre on Housing Rights & Evictions, the Legal Resources Centre, groundWork, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the Paulo Freire Institute, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) and lawyers Stuart Wilson, Shanta Reddy, Terrance Seery, Arti Sing and Juliet Nicholson and have all given much appreciated non monetary democratic solidarity of various kinds to the movement.
Donate from the U.S.
For solidarity from the U.S. the South African Development Fund has kindly offered to forward 100% of any funds received on behalf of Abahlali baseMjondolo. You can find out more by visiting their site. Please clearly mark contributions for "Abahlali baseMjondolo".
Donate in or Directly to South Africa
Abahlali baseMjondolo also has a Bank account with the following details:
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement
Bank: First National Bank
Acc no: 62218884577
Branch: Umgeni Junction
Branch Code: 00200913
Swift Code: firnzajj759
Please mark payments for Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Abahlali also welcomes other forms of solidarity and, for instance, many people from around the world have spent time visiting and living in Abahlali settlements. For a brief guide to the history and praxis of the movement please click here. If you would like to visit Abahlali please send a letter to the movement via the contact page explaining something about yourself and what you hope to do while with the movement.
A note of caution
Unfortunately it is necessary to state that it is not wise to accept the veracity of funding proposals, annual reports or public statements from NGOs or academics that claim that they will or have been been working with Abahlali without checking with the movement if this is in fact the case.
Finally please note that in 2006 Abahlali took a collective decision not to work, in any way, with the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.