Christmas means solidarity with the oppressed

26 December 2023
Abahlali baseMjondolo Youth league press statement

Christmas means solidarity with the oppressed

As the youth league, we were drafting warm Christmas wishes to our members in the Motala Heights settlement, but suddenly we were reminded that our lives can never be safe even during Christmas.

We are saddened to announce that a fire broke out in the Motala Heights settlement on Christmas this morning. A shack burnt to the ground. Luckily the children left the shack yesterday for a Christmas visit to family. The owner of the shack (Syanda Msomi) who was away during the fire incident clearly confirmed that through fear of load shedding and what it can do to electricity (common possible cause of shack fires) he switched off all electrical appliances but that still couldn’t prevent the burning of his home. We are deeply hurt to know that on Christmas day someone’s home is no more and that their belongings, work gear, and the children’s school uniforms, as well as their stationary for next year is no more.

The lives of the poor are never stable. Something can always go wrong at any time: shack fires, floods, evictions, retrenchments. When we organise to affirm our human dignity we face intense repression.

The condition of the poor is global. Our struggle spans the world, and we have comrades in many countries. On Christmas day our thoughts were with the people of Palestine who were under ruthless attack from the Israeli military. In Bethlehem Christmas celebrations were cancelled.

We were reminded that Jesus was a Palestinian who was born poor and as a child had to flee to Egypt to escape an oppressive empire. The true message of Christmas is solidarity with the oppressed, with the poor, with refugees, with those who are under attack by cruel empires and states.

Our hearts are with the victims of the fire, and we hope God can strengthen them. We’ve been reminded that through every celebration we have as families, we still have a major duty to God and a duty to our country to fight for the recognition of the full and equal human dignity of the impoverished, landless, shack dwellers of South Africa and the poor people of the world. Indeed, our struggle continues in Motala Heights, across Durban, across South Africa and across the world.

Lindo Motha: 066 129 4815
Thandeka Thusini: 076 647 9641