Road blockades have long since been a tool of struggle, and in recent months have featured in protests in South Africa, Guinea, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestine, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada, Turkey, and probably in most other countries in the world. Whilst some road blockades might be considered spontaneous eruptions of anger, with little reflective thought involved, others are clearly part of conscious praxis, a tactic reflecting Gramsci’s ‘war of manoeuvre’. However, I argue, road blockades are also used as a counter-hegemonic pedagogical tool in a ‘war of position’, as one of the associated pedagogies within the “multi-faceted praxis and political strategy” of Subaltern Social Movements (Kapoor, 2011). The article uses two such movements, Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa, and the piqueteros in Argentina, to explore this claim.
Residents of the iSiphingo transit camps are currently engaged in a road blockade. Transit camps are never acceptable. We are human beings not animals. Recently this camp has been flooded again after the rains. Residents have diseases like TB and asthma due to the living conditions.
In September the MEC promised, in public, that they would be moved to Cornubia. Yet they are still in the transit camp and have heard nothing more about the MEC's promise.
This is a protest at broken promises and it is a protest at living conditions that no human being can accept.
For much of the winter of 2012, communities in shack settlements across Cape Town took to the streets in some of the most active civil disobedience protests since 1994. Knowing that the mainstream political terrain often seeks to obfuscate and mislead the public about the true nature of these protests, this paper investigates claims by politicians from the Democratic Alliance (DA) that these protests were being coordinated by the Youth League of the African National Congress (ANCYL). These big political players moralize the debate, shifting the focus from the perfectly legitimate issues of service delivery and demands for meaningful engagement. Speaking directly to community members of Sweet Home Farm, an informal settlement of 15,000 people in the Philippi area, revealed a yawning chasm between what official players are saying about Sweet Home and the actual realities on the ground.
Update 20:34: Police bail was refused. A pro bono lawyer was secured but the prosector on standby had her phone switched off and so a bail hearing was made impossible. The three comrades will have to spend the weekend in the holding cells.
Update 10:10: The three comrades arrested today are are Themba Msomi, Thembeka Sondaba & Fikiswa Mgoduka.
Yesterday there was a blockade in Clare Estate. This morning there are blockades in iSiyanda and uMlazi. Three comrades, including the chairperson are under arrest in uMlazi. She still has her phone with her and she is strong. A police car turned over in uMlazi. This was because the driver failed to control it. We did not attack it. However we were attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets – the same bullets that killed Andries Tatane – in both iSiyanda and uMlazi.
uTata Nelson Mandela said that if the ANC does to us what apartheid did to us then we must do to the ANC what we did to apartheid. We are living in apartheid under black management. Therefore we are back to the streets. In these actions we are honouring Madiba.
The demands that are being issued on these blockades are clear. The first one is the same demand as the one issued in Cato Crest on Monday, in Clare Estate yesterday and in Clare Estate, iSiphingo and Cato Crest last week. That demand is that we want a full and proper response to the memoranda that we handed over to the Municipality on our march on 16 September. We have a new demand too now: Free Bandile Mdlalose!