Kerry Chance, Cultural Anthropology
This article combines theories of liberal governance, material life, and popular politics to examine the unruly force of fire in state-citizen struggles. Tracking interactions between state agents and activist networks during South Africa’s celebrated democratic transition, I analyze how the urban poor leverage the material properties of fire to secure techno-institutional claims to energy infrastructure, and more broadly to political inclusion and economic redistribution. I highlight how fire, as a social and historical as well as a chemical process, becomes a staging ground for the promise and endangerment of infrastructure. Approaching fire as intertwined with power, I argue, illuminates how those living on the margins of the city come to inhabit political roles that transform economic relationships in the context of liberalism.
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement
ISiyanda branch celebrates Electricity Installation, its Sixth Anniversary & Re-launches its Branch
It is with great pleasure that impoverished people on our own can achieve what was thought to be impossible sometime ago. It is with great pleasure that Abahlali can organise to build our power from below to use the state to develop and transform the lives of the impoverished without seeking permission from politicians or giving up our autonomy to the ruling party.
The neglected community of Siyanda VN Naik, just like many other Abahlali communities, has been denied the right to land and housing. We have been denied the right to essential services such as water and sanitation and electricity. When we started our movement in 2005 these services were denied to all shack dwellers in Durban. The government claimed to provide water but there would be a few taps for settlement of thousands of people. They claimed to provide sanitation but this only existed on paper. They openly refused to provide us with electricity claiming that our settlements, even when they were more than 30 years old, were ‘temporary’. Continue reading
Two killed in fight over electricity
Two people were killed and seven injured, allegedly by eThekwini Municipality security guards, on Saturday in a fight over electricity.
At about 9am on Saturday a stand-off took place between city officials and residents at the New Germany informal settlement in Reservoir Hills when officials disconnected cables drawing electricity from nearby schools and garages to the informal settlement.
Relatives of Malizo Fakaza and Nhlanhla Mkhize, the men who were killed, are now demanding that the city accept responsibility for their deaths.
Fakaza, who lived in the Kennedy Road informal settlement, was visiting his cousin, Mbali Mdlozini.
He was shot in the head.
Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape
1 January 2012
Government policies are behind the shack-fire epidemic in Cape Town
As residents of QQ Section shack settlement and members of the movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, we would like to say that we are not happy about what happened early this morning across the street from QQ Section.
A massive shack-fire, which started at around 4am, swept through almost the entire shack settlement of BM Section leaving thousands homeless and at least three (but possibly as much as six) people dead. We have a few Abahlali members in the settlement and, as residents of QQ Section, we also have a large number of friends and family who also were affected by the fire. We therefore remain in living solidarity with all those affect by the fire in BM section and other shack fires in WD Section and in Du Noon.