Women are the Backbone of the Land Issue

Saturday, 04 August 2018

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Women are the Backbone of the Land Issue

The Women’s League of Abahlali baseMjondolo is committed to building democratic women’s power in the struggle and in society. The Women’s League will hold a Women’s Day event on 5 August at the Cato Crest Sport Ground. The event will start at 10am and conclude at 3 pm.

The theme for our Women’s Day event for this year is “Women are the backbone of the land issue”. Prior to this gathering the women in the movement held a summit where they discussed the issue of women and land. The women had seen that the government does not recognise the role played by women when it comes to this very critical issue. They had also seen that many of the other social forces that say that they are concerned about the land issue do not recognise the experiences, struggles and thinking of women, and especially impoverished women.

In the cities impoverished women are often at the forefront of organising land occupations, of holding the land and rebuilding again and again after each attack. Women are subject to regular intimidation and violence on land occupations from the police, municipal and private security and various ‘anti-land invasion units’.

In rural areas impoverished women are often denied the right to own land and to participate in decision making. If a woman does not have a husband access to land is denied. Women who oppose the domination of men in rural areas are also subject to intimidation and violence.

Many women in our movement have paid a high price for their commitment to the struggle. This has included murder by the police and the ANC. Cyril Ramaphosa talks about restoring land to the people but he shows no consideration for the women that are struggling for land, sleeping in the open during winter after evictions, and being violated by the police.

Since our movement was founded in 2005 we have taken a clear position in support of democratic women’s power in communities, in the struggle and in society. For us Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and build our power.

We will also use the day to speak out against the ongoing threats and attacks against the leadership of the movement.

Contact people:

Khunjuzwa Nomtebe 073 0421 1479

Nomusa Nxumalo 078 433 2719

Zandile Nsibande 062 947 1947