Memorial Service for the Late Lungisani Jama, Tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 30, 2007
Foreman Road Development Committee (Affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo)

Memorial Service for the Late Lungisani Jama, Tonight at 6:30 p.m.

A hero has fallen.

Lungisani Jama’s passing will be mourned and his life celebrated at the Foreman Road settlement tonight at 6:30 and in Gamalakhe, Port Shepstone on Saturday.

Lungisani was a man of struggle. He was born in 1976 and schooled in Gamalakhe where he was SRC president. He first started coming to the Foreman Road settlement during school holidays and he moved here permanently after he finished school. Immediately on his arrival he joined SANCO and the Branch Executive Committee of the ANC. But he broke with both organisations when he realised that they were not interested in doing anything for the poor and he was a founding member of Abahlali baseMjondolo in 2005.

Foreman Road was the first settlement to join with Kennedy Road after they blocked Umgeni Road in March 2005. This was not easy. There was a committee, last elected many years ago, that was loyal to the BEC and that governed Foreman Road with armed intimidation. The small group of people who challenged that committee to demand open democracy in the settlement were subject to death threats. Lungisani’s courage played a key role in inspiring others to begin the struggle that eventually led to the democratisation of the settlement. When open elections at a mass assembly became possible he was elected as the chairperson of the Foreman Road Development Committee in 2005 and again in 2006.

Lungisani also played a key role in the attempt to march on Mayor Obed Mlaba from the Foreman Road settlement on 14 November 2005. That march was illegally banned by City Manager Mike Sutcliffe and the 3 000 protestors were savagely attacked by the SAPS under the command of the notorious Glen Nayager. There were a number of serious injuries and the attack on democracy by Sutcliffe and Nayager made news around the world. Lungisani conducted himself with tremendous courage on that day and responded by leading the organisation of a march by the whole of Abahlali baseMjondolo, at that stage comprising 12 settlements, on the MEC for housing Mike Mabuyakulu on 28 February 2006. Around 20 000 people from around the city tried to march on Mabuyakulu but Sutcliffe once again illegally banned the march and sent in helicopters, armed vehicles and hundreds of riot police to corral people into their settlements. However Abahlali were able to go to the high court and to win an interdict against Sutcliffe and the SAPS and to
march into the city.

Lungisani also played a key role in shifting the production of the red Abahlali t-shirts into the settlements which eventually resulted in the development of the Abahlali Women’s Sewing Collective.

Tonight’s memorial service will be held to show the recognition by the people of the Foreman Road settlement and all of Abahlali baseMjondolo for Lungisani’s efforts. It will be attended by Bahlali from Durban, Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg and by various church leaders, including Filippo Mondini. The film Breyani & the Councillor which shows Lungisani speaking at the Foreman Road march shortly before the police attack will be screened and there will be a performance by the famous Abahlali isicathimiya choir the Dlamini King Brothers.

Lungiani Jama was a man of struggle. He inspired us. He motivated us. We will always remember him.

For further information please contact the following members of the Foreman Road Development Committee:

Mnikelo Ndabankulu 0735656241
Sibongile Ndlovu 0738146243
Philani ‘Star’ Ntsansi 0822595443