Since its formation in 2005, Abahlali baseMjondolo, the extraordinary movement of the urban impoverished in South Africa, has inspired activists around the planet. However, the movement’s struggle for land and dignity has been met with severe repression, including the destruction of people’s homes, assaults, arrests on trumped-up charges, long periods in prison after bail is denied, torture and murder.
In the past two months, two of the movement’s leaders have been assassinated. Ayanda Ngila, a young leader in the eKhenana Commune in Durban, was assassinated on 8 March. Nokuthula Mabaso, also a leader in eKhenana, was assassinated on 5 May. Siyabonga Manqele, a member of the movement, was shot and killed by masked police officers at the nearby eNkanini occupation on 11 March.
Well more than 20 of the movement’s members have been assassinated or murdered by the police and other armed forces available to the state since 2013.
We register our profound concern at the continuing repression of a movement known around the world for its non-violent and democratic practices. We add our voices to all those calling for an immediate end to this repression and for the building of, in the language used by the movement, “living solidarity” with Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore
João Pedro Stedile
Disclaimer: Vijay Prashad is a regular contributor to New Frame.