Celebrating the Power of Organised Women

Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League Press Statement.
16 August 2012

Celebrating the Power of Organised Women

The Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League will be commemorating women’s month on the 18 August 2012 at the New Center Sports Ground in Newlands West. The Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League started on the 09 August 2008, after the formation of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement S.A, which was in October 2005.

The Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement was formed to bring back the dignity of the shackdwllers as we know that the shackdwllers are taken like people who can’t think and who don’t count in the society. We only count when it’s time to vote. The Abahlali baseMjondolo women’s league was started to build the power of women (izimbokodo) in the struggle, in our communities and in the society. So as the women who are living in the shacks we will use this day to bring back the dignity to the women from the shack settlements and to encourage them to fight the following:

* Unemployment
* Abusive and exploitative employment
* Communicable diseases
* Cultural practices that suppress women’s dignity.
* Anxiety caused through lack of participatory decision making by government officials
* Political dominance and repression
* Evictions
* All forms of undignified and dangerous housing including the amatins (transit camps)
* Lack of childcare
* Lack of toilets
* Lack of electricity
* Lack of water
* Shack Fires
* Exclusion of our children from schools
* All forms of abuse

We also want to break the silence of those who have suffered rape and others forms of abuse so that they can talk about it with their comrades. Some of them are threatened and frightened to talk so we create safe spaces where everyone can talk freely amongst comrades.

Most of the women who are infected with sexually transmitted diseases are infected because they depend on men financially and so if the man is forcing them to have unprotected sex the women agree. We will also encourage women to be confident to talk about sexual issues with their partners and to find solidarity and strength with each other.

Women living in the shacks cannot make vegetable gardens or make their homes nice because we can be evicted anytime from where we are residing. When people are evicted they often lose jobs and their children often lose places in school. We will encourage all women to resist evictions and forced removals.

On this event we will also encourage women to be leaders in the struggle as women are the people who experience the problems first hand as they are the ones that are normally at home. We will also celebrate the many powerful women leaders that have emerged in our struggle.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date: 18 August 2012
Venue: New Sports Center, Newlands East.
Time: 09:00

Halala Izimbokodo!

For comments please contact: Zandile Nsibande on 074 767 5706 or Busisiwe Mdlalose on 073 501 4200 or the Abahlali office on 031304 6420