The 27th of April is a historical day in the calendar of SA. It is a day which all South Africans should enjoy and celebrate. But in ten years of struggle we have never celebrated this day.
The people who betrayed us are the same ones that we brought into power with our struggle and our votes. They took an oath to respect us. But although their power came from us they vandalized our dignity.
We have refused to celebrate this day because we are forced to live like pigs in the mud.
We have refused to celebrate this day because when development does come it comes from above, with guns, and is often aimed at forcibly removing us from the cities.
We have refused to celebrate this day because we were promised decent housing and yet are forced into transit camps.
We have refused to celebrate this day because our demand to be included in all decision making that affects our communities and our lives has been treated as criminal.
We have refused to celebrate this day because when we insist on our humanity our homes are destroyed, we are slandered, beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered.
We say that twenty two years of fake freedom without land, decent houses and decent jobs means nothing.
We say that twenty two years of fake freedom without the right to participate in all discussions relating to our lives and future means nothing.
We say that we see no reason to celebrate the loss of our hard earned democracy, which is now serving the few while millions are still impoverished.
The purpose of UnFreedom Day is to reject the lie that the politicians that repress us have freed us. In fact it was the struggles of the people that allowed them to return from prison and from exile.
We mourn this day instead of celebrating it to highlight the impoverishment, landlessness and indignity to which the people are subjected. We face shack fires, floods, crime and diseases.
For many of us there is no work. When there is work it is often exploitative. Our young people face addiction. Women and girls face abuse. Crimes are perpetrated against us by those brought to power by the struggles of the people. These crimes are committed against us with impunity.
We are not the only ones living under the politics of blood. The whole world saw it at Marikana. Today people continue to be murdered at the Glebelands Hostel.
But struggle is also everywhere. Workers have rebelled. Students have rebelled. Learners are organising. Because we have always known that struggle will open the road ahead we consider this to be a time of hope. We will celebrate struggle.
We have won many victories in the last ten years. We have occupied and held land. We have defeated plans for mass evictions. We are now committed to the struggle to develop the land that we have won in struggle. We will celebrate the many victories that we have won.
Abahlali baseMjondolo is a people’s movement that has developed its own philosophy which is the living politics as opposed to the party politics. We are more concerned about our lives and building our own emancipatory politics than party politics. We are a people’s movement and not a civil society organisation.
Occupy. Resist. Develop.
Abahlali baseMjondolo Statement