Johannesburg in decay

11 June 2021 — New Frame

South Africa’s largest city is a world city, the home of jazz, art, politics and insurgent popular aspirations. But it is in precipitous decline, making now the time to act.

“What’s the word Johannesburg?” Gil Scott-Heron asked in 1975. An answer came the following year when children in Soweto ran into fascist bullets, their hearts full of courage and resolve to overcome oppression.

Johannesburg – Joburg, Jozi, eGoli, eRhawutini, Gauteng, Maboneng – is a city of gold, lights, barbed wire, jazz, the sun setting into lava, the burnt orange of aloes in flower against dry grass, a great university, men with guns, shopping malls, the sudden malachite of parakeets on the wing above the city forest and the smoke from the braziers hanging low in the shack settlements when winter bites. Its paths are strewn with lumps of quartz, its rivers and rain poisoned and its jacarandas overwhelmingly beautiful in October.

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Leader of shack-dwellers’ movement arrested by South African police for ‘conspiracy’ to murder

7 May, 2021 — Peoples Dispatch

George Mqapheli Bonono, the deputy president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, was arrested on May 4. The movement maintains that it is a politically motivated attempt by the police to discredit the organization at the behest of the ruling ANC

George Mqapheli Bonono addressing the AbM’s heritage week celebration in 2019. Photo : New Frame

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EXPLAINER: What does the new policing bill say about restricting protests?

13 April 2021 — NetPol

Protester arrested during Extinction Rebellion protests in London, October 2019PHOTO: Splento

Since the confrontational crackdown by the Metropolitan Police on women holding a vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common on 13 March, a growing movement has condemned police intolerance to the right to protest and warned this will only become worse with the passing of the government’s 307 page Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

So what exactly does the bill propose?
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South African movement adopts Climate Justice Charter

2 September 2020 — Climate & Capitalism

Movement Building

Click image to download Charter (pdf)

“As Africans, we live together on a vast and beautiful continent where the human story began. All of us are linked to the first human who walked upright, dreamed, thought and co-existed with plants, animals, rivers, oceans and forests. Today this common humanity and its future is in serious danger. South Africa cannot ignore this challenge. The continued use of oil, gas and coal to power our economy and society is making our world unlivable for all life.”

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Tell the People That the Struggle Must Go On: The Thirty-Fourth Newsletter (2020)

20 August 2020 — Tricontinental

Thami Mnyele South Africa untitled pen and ink Gaborone Botswana 1984 1

Thami Mnyele (South Africa), untitled, pen and ink, Gaborone, Botswana, 1984.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

Young children marvel at an obvious contradiction in capitalist societies: why do we have shops filled with food, and yet see hungry people on the streets? It is a question of enormous significance; but in time the question dissipates into the fog of moral ambivalence, as various explanations are used to obfuscate the clarity of the youthful mind. The most bewildering explanation is that hungry people cannot eat because they have no money, and somehow this absence of money – the most mystical of all human creations – is enough reason to let people starve. Since there is ample food to eat, and since a lot of people do not have enough money to buy food, the food must be protected from the hungry people.

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Watch: SHAYA! Amapiano Documentary (FULL)

20 November 2020 — Youtube

SHAYA! is Documentary about Amapiano music, lifestyle and culture in South Africa. The inside story about the culture and how certain things became the way they are. This 26 minute documentary features: Kabza De Small, MFR Souls,Tall Arse Tee, DJ Jaivane, JazziDisciples, Papers 707, Dimpie Dimpopo, Mbali Sibeko, Dinho Cafe, Kwiish SA, Pencil, Stokie and more…
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EXCLUSIVE: OR Tambo’s forgotten speech at Chatham House in 1985

9 July 2020 — Mail & Guardian 

OR Tambo would have been 100 this year

Oliver Reginald Tambo 

On October 29 1985, Oliver Tambo gave a speech at Chatham House in London. In it, he urged a reluctant British government to support the fight against apartheid — and expertly dissects the hypocrisy in not doing so. For decades, the speech was buried in the Chatham House archives. For its centennial celebrations, the think tank has made the speech publicly available for the first time, in partnership with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation. Tambo’s daughter, Nomatemba Tambo, will be discussing the speech on a Chatham House webinar on Friday, July 10. This is an edited version of Tambo’s address.

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George Hallett, photographer 1942 – 2020

1 July 2020 —The New Dark Age

George Hallet, one of a group of immensely talented (and, I might add, brave) South African photographers who documented Apartheid, and post-Apartheid South Africa, died today after a long illness. In 2012 George came to London for a brief stayover, on his way to somewhere else and we hung out for a short time.  I took him to St. Paul’s in the City, where the Occupy movement had set up a tent city in the square in front of the Cathedral.

A beautiful human being and thankfully, he has left us an indelible and moving record of the strength of the human spirit.

Hamba Kahle, George

George hallett 01

George outside St. Paul’s Cathedral during the Occupy 2012

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Lockdown: Violence, hunger and indifference

15 June 2020 — Polity

Photo by Madelene Cronje/New Frame

As we mark the anniversary of the June 16 1976 uprising, many young people are experiencing hunger and there is widespread violence emanating from security forces. While it is understandable that many problems of the “state of disaster” could not be anticipated, there is an element of indifference that is cause for disquiet.

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