S'bu Zikode

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S'bu Zikode
Sbu Zikode Constiutional Court 14 May 2009.JPG
S'bu Zikode at the Constitutional Court, Johannesburg, 14 May 2009
Native name Sibusiso Innocent Zikode
Born Sibusiso Innocent Zikode
1975
South Africa, Loskop
Nationality South African
Alma mater
  1. completed Matric at Bonokuhle High School where he joined the Boy Scouts Movement.[1]
  2. University of Durban-Westville and is now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Known for former (and founding) president of the South African shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Notable work On 16 December 2009 he was presented with the Order of the Holy Nativity by Bishop Rubin Phillip.[2][3][4]

Sibusiso Innocent Zikode is the former (and founding) president of the South African shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo[5][6] which claims to have an audited paid up membership of over 50 000 across South Africa.[7]His politics have been described as 'anti-capitalist'. [8] According to the Mail & Guardian "Under his stewardship, ABM has made steady gains for housing rights."[9]

Biography[edit]

Zikode 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.[10][11] He was raised by a single mother working as a domestic worker.[12] He completed Matric at Bonokuhle High School where he joined the Boy Scouts Movement.[13]

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.[14][15]

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[16] and electricity,[17] as well as land and housing,[18] Zikode is clear that its demands go beyond immediate material needs.[19] 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."[20] He argues for an immediate assertion of equality[21] 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".[22]

He was critical of evictions linked to the 2010 FIFA World Cup[23] and supported the August 2010 Public Sector Worker's strike in South Africa.[24] He supports the occupation of unused land.[25]

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".[26]

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.[27]

Zikode's writing has been anthologised in the Verso Book of Dissent[28] and published in newspapers like The Guardian[29] and Libération.[30]

Awards & Recognition[edit]

On 16 December 2009 he was presented with the Order of the Holy Nativity by Bishop Rubin Phillip.[31][32][33]

In 2012 the Mail & Guardian newspaper declared him to be one of the two hundred most important young South Africans.[34]

In 2018 a new land occupation in Germiston in the East Rand, outside of Johannesburg, was named after Zikode.[35]

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.[36] 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.[37][38]

In September 2009, Kennedy Road was attacked by a mob reportedly affiliated with the African National Congress.[39] Violence continued for days.[40][41][42] Zikode's home was destroyed during the violence and he and his family fled.[43] Zikode, who went underground for some months[44][45] because he feared for his life, considered himself a political refugee.[46][47]

In its 2012 South Africa report Amnesty International reported that Zikode had been publicly threatened with violence by a senior ANC official.[48]

In April 2013 Zikode, along with two others, successfully sued the Minister of Police for violence against his person.[49]

In July 2018, following the assassination of a number of its members, Abahlali baseMjondolo issued a statement claiming that Zikode's life was "in grave danger".[50]

Political Commitments[edit]

Zikode has called for 'a living communism'[51][52][53] and stressed that land is fundamental to his politics.[54] He is an advocate of land occupations.[55] He is also an advocate of what he terms 'living politics'[56], a form of politics that speaks directly to lived experience and is expressed in plain language.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Is this Man the Next Nelson Mandela?, by Raj Patel, OZY, 19 September 2013
  2. ^ Order of Service for the Presentation of the Order of the Holy Nativity to S'bu Zikode
  3. ^ Shack Dweller's Leader Honoured, SABC
  4. ^ Anglican Church honours Abahlali leader, Paul Trewhela, Politicsweb, 18 December 2009
  5. ^ Freedom's prisoners, Mail & Guardian
  6. ^ South Africa's new apartheid?. Riz Khan, Al Jazeera, 23 November 2010
  7. ^ Unfreedom Day Rally: Freedom a figment of elite imagination, say 50,000 shack dwellers, Dennis Webster, The Daily Maverick, 24 April 2018
  8. ^ The Politics of Grieving & the Ubuntu Electricians, Drucilla Cornell, Social Text, 2011
  9. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  10. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  11. ^ Order of the Holy Nativity Awarded to S'bu Zikode
  12. ^ To Be Betrayed By Your Brother, Rosaleen Ortiz, City University of New York, 2010
  13. ^ Is this Man the Next Nelson Mandela?, by Raj Patel, OZY, 19 September 2013
  14. ^ 'Unrest in South African shanty towns – ready to host the World Cup?', The Observers, 23 July 2009
  15. ^ When Choices Can No Longer be Choices
  16. ^ Report Details Toll Taken by Lack of Water, Sanitation, Moyiga Nduru, IPS, 2006
  17. ^ Economies Go Underground, Robert Neuwirth, Forbes, 2010
  18. ^ Abahlali baseMjondolo March on Jacob Zuma, Durban, South Africa, 22 March 2010, UK IndyMedia
  19. ^ In the country of the blind… Bob Catterall, City, 2007
  20. ^ Economies Go Underground Robert Neuwirth, Forbes, 09.09.10,
  21. ^ "The Will of the People: Notes Towards a Dialectical Voluntarism", by Peter Hallward, Radical Philosophy, 2009
  22. ^ "The real winners and losers: of the beautiful game" Archived 10 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine., Sunday Herald, 9 August 2009
  23. ^ "World Cup 2010: football brings defining moment for South Africa", The Guardian, 12 June 2009]
  24. ^ Hospitals blocked as South African unions resume massive strikes, France 24, 19 August 2010
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ "Shacks of Fear", Max Du Preez, Daily News, 17 November 2005
  27. ^ Love in a Time of AIDS, Mark Hunter, UKZN Press, 2010
  28. ^ [1] The Verso Book of Dissent
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ Les promesses non tenues de Nelson Mandela, Libération, 10 December 2013
  31. ^ Order of Service for the Presentation of the Order of the Holy Nativity to S'bu Zikode
  32. ^ Shack Dweller's Leader Honoured, SABC
  33. ^ Anglican Church honours Abahlali leader, Paul Trewhela, Politicsweb, 18 December 2009
  34. ^ 200 Young South Africans in Civil Society, Mail & Guardian
  35. ^ When homes are built in the dark and demolished in daylight, Dennis Webster, The Daily Maverick, 14 May 2018
  36. ^ BATTLE TO BE HEARD, by Carol Paton, Financial Mail, 16 February 2006
  37. ^ "Shack Dwellers on the Move", Radical Philosophy, January 2007
  38. ^ 'I was punched, beaten', Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, 16 September 2006,
  39. ^ South Africa's shack-dwellers fight back, by Patrick Kingsely, The Guardian, 24 September 2012
  40. ^ "'Attackers associated with ANC'". News24. 
  41. ^ "The Attacks Continue in the Presence of the Police and Senior ANC Leaders". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  42. ^ "Joint Statement on the attacks on the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement in Durban". Professor John Dugard SC, et al. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. 
  43. ^ "S'bu Zikode's House after the attack". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  44. ^ SOUTH AFRICA: Poor people's movement draws government wrath, IRIN,UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 22 April 2010
  45. ^ Freedom's prisoners, Mail & Guardian
  46. ^ "'The ANC has invaded Kennedy Road'". PambazukaNews. 
  47. ^ "Call for solidarity among shack dwellers". Mercury. 
  48. ^ Amnesty International South Africa Report, 2012
  49. ^ Minister of Police to pay damages to Abahlali members for police brutality, Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa
  50. ^ Abahlali baseMjondolo leader S’bu Zikode’s life is ‘in grave danger’, Musawenkosi Cabe, Magnificent Mndebele and Dennis Webster, The Daily Maverick, 8 July 2018
  51. ^ To resist all degradations and divisions: an interview with S’bu Zikode, Interface, 2009
  52. ^ Politics of Grieving Archived 26 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine., by Drucilla Cornell, Social Text, 2011
  53. ^ South Africa's shack-dwellers fight back, by Patrick Kingsely, The Guardian, 24 September 2012
  54. ^ No freedom without land, The Daily Vox, 2013
  55. ^ No freedom without land, The Daily Vox, 2013
  56. ^ S'bu Zikode on Living Politics, 'Sleeping Giant', 2007

External links[edit]

Online articles and speeches[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Online films[edit]

Talks[edit]

Poems and songs[edit]