S'bu Zikode

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S'bu Zikode at the Constitutional Court, Johannesburg, 14 May 2009

Sibusiso Innocent Zikode is the former (and founding) president of the South African shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.[1][2] According to the Mail & Guardian "Under his stewardship, ABM has made steady gains for housing rights."[3]

Biography[edit]

He was born in the village of Loskop in 1975 and grew up in the town of Estcourt, in the midlands of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.[4][5] He was raised by a single mother working as a domestic worker.[6] He completed Matric at Bonokuhle High School where he joined the Boy Scouts Movement.[7]

A few years later he enrolled as a law student at what was formerly known as The University of Durban-Westville and is now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. However he was unable to pay fees or rent and in 1997 had to abandon his studies and move to the Kennedy Road shack settlement. He found work at a nearby gas station as a pump attendant.[8][9]

Activism[edit]

Zikode has served a number of terms as the elected head of the South African shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo since October 2005. Before that he was the Chairperson of the Kennedy Road Development Committee. Although the movement campaigns for basic services, like water[10] and electricity,[11] as well as land and housing,[12] Zikode is clear that its demands go beyond immediate material needs.[13] He has said that ""The house on its own cannot solve the problem. It's not only money that creates dignity. All governments should accept that our communities are part of the greater society."[14] He argues for an immediate assertion of equality[15] and for meaningful engagement with the poor by saying that, "The government and academics speak about the poor all the time, but so few want to speak to the poor".[16]

He was critical of evictions linked to the 2010 FIFA World Cup[17] and supported the August 2010 Public Sector Worker's strike in South Africa.[18] He supports the occupation of unused land.[19]

Commenting in response to Zikode's newspaper article 'We are the Third Force' veteran South African journalist Max du Preez commented that "I have never read anything as compelling, real and disturbing as the piece written in The Star last week by S'bu Zikode".[20]

Mark Hunter argues that Zikode evokes a conception of housing rooted in an idea of dignity rather than a technical, numbers driven approach to the housing crisis.[21]

Zikode's writing has been anthologised in the Verso Book of Dissent[22] and published in newspapers like The Guardian[23] and Libération.[24]

Awards[edit]

On 16 December 2009 he was presented with the Order of the Holy Nativity by Bishop Rubin Phillip.[25][26][27]

In 2012 the Mail & Guardian newspaper declared him to be one of the two hundred most important young South Africans.[28]

Repression[edit]

In 2006 Zikode, along with a number of other members of the movement, was forced out of his job after his boss came under pressure from the Mayor[citation needed]. In February 2006 Zikode was prevented by the police from taking up an invitation to appear on a television talk show.[29] In September 2006 Zikode, and the then Deputy Chair of the movement Philani Zungu, were arrested on trumped up charges and tortured by Superintendent Glen Nayager in the Sydenham Police Station.[30][31]

In September 2009, Kennedy Road was attacked by a mob reportedly affiliated with the African National Congress.[32] Violence continued for days.[33][34][35] Zikode's home was destroyed during the violence and he and his family fled.[36] Zikode, who went underground for some months[37][38] because he feared for his life, considered himself a political refugee.[39][40]

In its 2012 South Africa report Amnesty International reported that Zikode had been publicly threatened with violence by a senior ANC official.[41]

In April 2013 he, along with two others, successfully sued the Minister of Police for violence against his person.[42]

Political Commitments[edit]

Zikode has called for 'a living communism'[43][44][45] and stressed that land is fundamental to his politics.[46] He is an advocate of land occupations.[47]

In the 2014 national election Abahlali baseMjondolo controversially[48]called for a tactical vote[49] for the centrist Democratic Alliance[50] following a process of discussion within the movement[51][52] about their orientation to the election in the way of the assassination of two housing activists and the killing of a third by the police. At the time Zikode stated that "Our move to endorse the DA does not dismiss our commitment to the politics of the left. This decision is a tactical one."[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Freedom's prisoners, Mail & Guardian
  2. ^ South Africa's new apartheid?. Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, 23 November 2010
  3. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  4. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  5. ^ Order of the Holy Nativity Awarded to S'bu Zikode
  6. ^ To Be Betrayed By Your Brother, Rosaleen Ortiz, City University of New York, 2010
  7. ^ Is this Man the Next Nelson Mandela?, by Raj Patel, OZY, 19 September 2013
  8. ^ 'Unrest in South African shanty towns – ready to host the World Cup?', The Observers, 23 July 2009
  9. ^ When Choices Can No Longer be Choices
  10. ^ Report Details Toll Taken by Lack of Water, Sanitation, Moyiga Nduru, IPS, 2006
  11. ^ Economies Go Underground, Robert Neuwirth, Forbes, 2010
  12. ^ Abahlali baseMjondolo March on Jacob Zuma, Durban, South Africa, 22 March 2010, UK IndyMedia
  13. ^ In the country of the blind… Bob Catterall, City, 2007
  14. ^ Economies Go Underground Robert Neuwirth, Forbes, 09.09.10,
  15. ^ "The Will of the People: Notes Towards a Dialectical Voluntarism", by Peter Hallward, Radical Philosophy, 2009
  16. ^ "The real winners and losers: of the beautiful game", Sunday Herald, 9 August 2009
  17. ^ "World Cup 2010: football brings defining moment for South Africa", The Guardian, 12 June 2009]
  18. ^ Hospitals blocked as South African unions resume massive strikes, France 24, 19 August 2010
  19. ^ Despite the state's violence, our fight to escape the mud and fire of South Africa's slums will continue, S'bu Zikode, The Guardian, 11 November 2013
  20. ^ "Shacks of Fear", Max Du Preez, Daily News, 17 November 2005
  21. ^ Love in a Time of AIDS, Mark Hunter, UKZN Press, 2010
  22. ^ [1] The Verso Book of Dissent
  23. ^ Despite the state's violence, our fight to escape the mud and fire of South Africa's slums will continue, The Guardian, 11 November 2013
  24. ^ Les promesses non tenues de Nelson Mandela, Libération, 10 December 2013
  25. ^ Order of Service for the Presentation of the Order of the Holy Nativity to S'bu Zikode
  26. ^ Shack Dweller's Leader Honoured, SABC
  27. ^ Anglican Church honours Abahlali leader, Paul Trewhela, Politicsweb, 18 December 2009
  28. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  29. ^ BATTLE TO BE HEARD, by Carol Paton, Financial Mail, 16 February 2006
  30. ^ "Shack Dwellers on the Move", Radical Philosophy, January 2007
  31. ^ 'I was punched, beaten', Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, 16 September 2006,
  32. ^ South Africa's shack-dwellers fight back, by Patrick Kingsely, The Guardian, 24 September 2012
  33. ^ "'Attackers associated with ANC'". News24. 
  34. ^ "The Attacks Continue in the Presence of the Police and Senior ANC Leaders". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  35. ^ "Joint Statement on the attacks on the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement in Durban". Professor John Dugard SC, et al. 
  36. ^ "S'bu Zikode's House after the attack". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  37. ^ SOUTH AFRICA: Poor people's movement draws government wrath, IRIN,UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 22 April 2010
  38. ^ Freedom's prisoners, Mail & Guardian
  39. ^ "'The ANC has invaded Kennedy Road'". PambazukaNews. 
  40. ^ "Call for solidarity among shack dwellers". Mercury. 
  41. ^ Amnesty International South Africa Report, 2012
  42. ^ Minister of Police to pay damages to Abahlali members for police brutality, Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa
  43. ^ To resist all degradations and divisions: an interview with S’bu Zikode, Interface, 2009
  44. ^ Politics of Grieving, by Drucilla Cornell, Social Text, 2011
  45. ^ South Africa's shack-dwellers fight back, by Patrick Kingsely, The Guardian, 24 September 2012
  46. ^ No freedom without land, The Daily Vox, 2013
  47. ^ No freedom without land, The Daily Vox, 2013
  48. ^ How the left let Abahlali down, Jared Sacks, IOL, 2014
  49. ^ Why Abahlali endorsed the DA: S’bu Zikode speaks to GroundUp, GroundUp, 5 May 2014, Sibusiso Tshabalala
  50. ^ [2] DA signs pact with KZN landless people
  51. ^ Why Abahlali endorsed the DA: S’bu Zikode speaks to GroundUp, GroundUp, 5 May 2014 - Sibusiso Tshabalala
  52. ^ How the left let Abahlali down, Jared Sacks, IOL, 2014
  53. ^ Why Abahlali endorsed the DA: S’bu Zikode speaks to GroundUp, GroundUp, 5 May 2014, Sibusiso Tshabalala

External links[edit]

Online articles and speeches[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Online films[edit]

Talks[edit]

Poems and songs[edit]