Category Archives: Zukile Majova

Padkos: Thinking and learning an emancipatory praxis

Thinking and learning an emancipatory praxis

Thinking and learning an emancipatory praxis requires not only a confrontation with forces and ideologies of the right, but also with those elements in leftist traditions that re-inscribe authoritarian dogmatism, hierarchical power, political exclusion, and contemptuous vanguardism. No ideological orientation guarantees that we're safeguarded against these tendencies – but humanist, autonomist, and anarchist traditions of the left become important resources since they explicitly critique them and, perhaps more importantly, explore practical ways of doing politics against them.

In this edition of Padkos we're sharing a short note on “Christianity and Anarchism” that Mark Butler and Graham Philpott (CLP) recently wrote for our friends at the Anabaptist Network of South Africa (ANISA). We point out that the “anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian” characteristics of Jesus' politics signals “important parallels and resonances” with anarchism.

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Butler & Philpott: Christianity & Anarchism

Graeber: The New Anarchists

UKZN and settlement jostle for same spot

UKZN and settlement jostle for same spot

Durban land project hits snag
December 20, 2005

By Zukile Majova

An ambitious eThekwini Municipality project to upgrade an informal settlement near the University of KwaZulu-Natal has hit a snag because the university had planned to build residences for its increasing student population on the same land.

Now a process is under way – between the municipality’s Housing Department and UKZN’s planning services – to decide whether there is enough land for the student residences to coexist with the low-cost housing planned for the vociferous residents of Banana City about 100m away from the university. The residents had been at the forefront of protests against the perceived slow pace of service delivery by the municipality.

UKZN Vice-chancellor and Principal Malegapuru Makgoba said the partnership was necessary because the institution had an obligation to provide accommodation for its more than 40 000 students. “We have to work towards ensuring that the land is made available for the university to build residences,” Makgoba said.


This was very important because the university had an obligation to ensure that its students lived in an environment that was conducive to learning.

“At the moment, we have students living in congested flats all over town and that cannot be right,” he said. Makgoba said the university was hoping for an amicable solution to the problem. Faizal Seedat, Manager of planning in the municipal housing unit, said the project would only start once UKZN agreed to compromise. The upgrade project would include a housing project, roads, water, electricity and sanitation.

“The project will be ready to take off in the next year because we are convinced that there is enough land for the university to build residences without moving the community,” he said. However, Seedat said UKZN would face legal frustration if it were to try to move the people off the land.

“It’s not as simple as applying for a court order to evict them because they have been on the land for more than 10 years. The law is clear that, in such cases, it is the responsibility of the land owner to find alternative land for the people.

“But the people are not prepared to move because they feel they are in a nice spot there, between middle- to high-income suburbs where they can get jobs,” he said.

UKZN academic accuses mayor of meddling

There is an error here – Fazel Khan was employed in the sociology department and not at the Centre for Civil Society.

The Mercury

UKZN academic accuses mayor of meddling
December 16, 2005

By Zukile Majova & Carvin Goldstone

An academic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society, who has been at the forefront of protest against the perceived slow pace of service provision by the eThekwini Municipality, claims his academic freedom is being undermined.

The claim is vigorously denied by the UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof William Makgoba. The academic says he believes eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba is using his friendship with Makgoba to tinker with academic freedom.

At the centre of the uproar is a claim that Mlaba told Makgoba he was very angry about the activities of some of the academics on Makgoba’s payroll.

Fazel Khan, a sociologist from UKZN who is documenting the plight of shack dwellers living in informal settlements in Kennedy Road and Sydenham in Durban, said he was considering dropping his research because of political interference in his work. Khan’s troubles reportedly started on December 7 after he attended the Vice-Chancellor’s Consultation Forum. He said he had spoken to Makgoba at the end of the forum.

“I was talking about union matters when Makgoba told me the mayor was very angry with me,” he said.

“He said Mlaba phoned him to voice his anger with my involvement with the informal settlement disputes.

“I told him that I was elected by the people to represent them, help them write press releases, teach them how to take minutes of their meetings, etc.”

Khan, who is doing a PhD in sociology, told Makgoba that his involvement was in line with his academic work because he was producing a research paper on the matter, and it was part of his community outreach, a requirement expected of all academics. But he said Makgoba had repeated: “Mlaba is very angry with you.”

Makgoba had added that the mayor was preparing a report regarding Khan’s actions of instigating the informal settlers, and it would be presented to the university’s council.

“For the third time he told me that Mlaba is very angry with me,” said Khan.

“I then asked him (Makgoba) what his opinion was on this matter, and he said he did not have an opinion at the time, but would wait for the presentation to be made to council.

“I felt that instead of encouraging independence for researchers, he was exposing them to intimidation.”

The conversation was overheard by Prof Kathan Pillay and an executive member of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union who attended the forum. Pillay said: “I can say that the conversation was informal, but I will not delve into its content because it was between Prof Makgoba and Khan.”

Khan has reported the matter to the Freedom of Expression Institute and the Human Rights Foundation. However, Makgoba said the mayor had never phoned him. He said he had been told by a member of the university staff who had visited the informal settlement at the same time as Mlaba that the mayor had been angry at some academics in the university. He denied intimidating Khan, saying their conversation had been informal and not characterised by “finger-pointing intimidation”.

“I spoke to him off the cuff. There are different kinds of conversations and this one was informal,” said Makgoba.

“I actually feel betrayed that an academic at the university can do this to me.”

He added: “I was just warning him that Mlaba has found out that he was stirring trouble at the settlement while they knew well that the council and the university are co-operating to ensure that they get proper houses.”

The vice-chancellor said he had been informed that the mayor had remarked that he was very disappointed and that he would call him and prepare a report to the UKZN council.

“I told him that when I had facts I would call him to my office,” said Makgoba.

“But the mayor has not called me and, at the moment, everything hinges on hearsay.

“We hear that they (Khan and Centre for Civil Society academic Richard Pitthouse) are not doing research, but they have set themselves as councillors in the area.

“The first thing I will do in the new year will be to call the mayor so we can deal with this matter.”

Mlaba said it was “nonsense” that he was interfering with academic independence.

“Even Makgoba will not concur with claims that I phoned him because I did no such (thing),” said Mlaba.

“These are just people who are determined to pull down our movement ahead of the elections.”

He denied claims that his office was compiling a report that would be forwarded to Makgoba.

“There is no report. I don’t care what they (academics) say. Maybe they know that they are interfering with the council’s plans,” said Mlaba.

Prof Shadrack Gutto, a Director of the Centre for African Renaissance Studies, said academic freedom was protected under section 16 of the constitution, and it should be respected.

5 000 join in ‘death of freedom’ protests


5 000 join in ‘death of freedom’ protests
April 27, 2006

By Zukile Majova

While the rest of South Africa marked Freedom Day yesterday, more than 5 000 people from communities in the greater Durban area converged at St John’s Church Hall in Sydenham to mourn “the death of freedom”.

S’bu Zikode, leader of the eThekwini shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali base Mjondolo, said the residents of 35 informal settlements had gathered to speak against their oppression in the democratic South Africa.

“How can we celebrate freedom when we only hear tales of freedom or see people’s lives changed for the better in other parts of the country, but never in our communities?” said Zikode. “We cannot celebrate, we have nothing to be cheerful about.

“We are the forgotten people who are expected to be content with sharing five toilets among 5 000 people. How can a community of 5 000 people celebrate when it is expected to make do with six taps?”

The shack dwellers’ movement was joined by civil rights organisations which work to reconnect water and lights when the municipality disconnects these services in areas like Chatsworth and Phoenix .

Virginia Magwaza-Setshedi, of the Freedom of Expression Institute in Johannesburg, who also attended the gathering, said the institute sought to protect the right of shack dwellers to protest.

“We agree they cannot really join the rest of the country in celebrating freedom while they are being denied their basic rights,” she said. “We want to ensure they no longer suffer police brutality when expressing themselves through protest.”