The Forgotten Children Of Blikkiesdorp

By Yerushka Chetty

On this bitter cold rainy morning of 18 June 2016 I attended the 2nd meeting called by the residents of Woodstock and Salt River in the Salt River Community Hall to “resist gentrification” which is commonly referred to as stopping evictions.  A group of activists from Western Cape, concerned about the plight of the residents in these areas, joined the campaign called “We Are Not Going Anywhere” as volunteers representing the Black First Land First Movement (BLF). As BLF we are against the modern day dispossession and forceful removal of black people from their land which is politely termed gentrification.

At the first meeting that took place last week on 11 June 2016 we were told how Salt River and Woodstock were identified by big business to promote its own capitalist interests at the expense of the residents of these areas. Consequently many families have been forcibly removed from these areas and condemned to Blikkiesdorp to die. Those who remain in Salt River and Woodstock are fighting further evictions. The white owned businesses that have invaded these areas have not benefited the residents and more and more whites are taking over the houses in Salt River and Woodstock as the residents cannot afford the huge increase in property prices, rates and rentals that is supported by the Democratic Alliance (DA) led Western Cape Government. It was clear from this meeting that the residents want an end to the evictions and to be allowed to enjoy the full benefits of their rights to housing and land in Woodstock and Salt River.

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Andiswa Duma, 12 years old. Denied access to education.

Regarding the current follow-up meeting, a taxi filled with mothers and their children had traveled from Blikkiesdorp to the meeting to speak about their struggle to get their children enrolled into school after they were forcefully removed from Gympie Street, Woodstock and taken to Blikkiesdorp, Block P in 2009. Blikkiesdorp is a place which lies on the outskirts of Cape Town and which the locals refer to as Helen Zille’s concentration camp.

Lydia Duma, a mother of two, has been struggling with no success for 4 years to enroll her daughter who is now 12 years old into school. With a heavy heart she explains how her daughter cries every morning when she sees children going to school. Lydia brought her child to the meeting. She was sick but wanted to be seen and heard.

Initially I assumed it was just Lydia Duma who had this problem. It soon became apparent that over 200 children living in Blikkiesdorp as indicated by the mothers I met are not attending school. They explained that their many visits to schools and government departments so as to get their children enrolled in school were in vain. They have been waging this battle for six years now but their children are still not allowed to attend school. Their children are essentially denied even the most basic education and everyday they watch with painful hearts other children going to school while they are forced to remain at home.

Another woman, Victoria Hector, spoke about her daily challenge of looking after her 4 children and mother who has diabetes. Her mum recently had lost her leg due to her condition and requires special food. The 4th child, who is her nephew from her deceased sister and who she is raising as her own for four years now, is prevented by the state from attending school because the child is not recognized as her own. She supports her household, being her children and mother, from the meager grants she receives which is insufficient. She consequently struggles to make ends meet.

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Victoria Hector (far right) and Lydia Dumas with mother's from Blikkiesdorp

The forgotten children of Blikkiesdorp is not a new story. It has been reported on for years, and the government of Western Cape is aware of it’s human rights violations in this regard yet it continues in the same vain with reckless disregard for the wellbeing of these children and their families. The children of Blikkiesdorp are conveniently forgotten. In the eyes of white supremacy, they simply don’t exist!

The mothers in attendance struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis. They had hired a taxi to get to the meeting but after having fundraised at the meeting were still short of funds to return to Blikkiesdorp . They however managed to convince the taxi driver to take them back home with the limited funds they managed to raise. The resilience of these warrior mothers is indeed inspirational and worthy of our salutations. Aluta continua.

Noeraan Dreyer, a resident of Salt River, spoke about her struggle to stop her landlord from evicting her family from their home of 11 years. Noeraan fears if they are forcefully evicted they too will end up in Blikkiesdorp but she is adamant to fight tooth and nail for the future of her children and grandchildren in Salt River.

The Anti Evictions campaign, “We Are Not Going Anywhere” will be staging protests next week outside the Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River. The needs of the residents of Salt River and Woodstock and of those banished to Blikkiesdorp are self evident:

1. The children of Blikkiesdorp be immediately enrolled in school and given free and adequate education.
2. The ANC government must immediately stop all evictions.
3. Those banished to Blikkiesdorp from Woodstock and Salt River be returned to those areas with the full benefits of decent adequate housing and sanitation.

For further information on joining the “We Are Not Going Anywhere”  campaign please feel free to contact:

Josie Abrahams
Email: onjosieabrahams19@gmail.com
Cell number: 0720532517

Yerushka Chetty
Email:  blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com
Cell number: 062 945 5078

WITHOUT LAND THERE IS NO FREEDOM! 

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On this 22nd anniversary of the installation of a “new democratic South Africa”, BLF re-issues it’s “Revolutionary Call” and invites all BLACK PEOPLE who want freedom to its launch conference on 14 May 2016, in Soweto. 

“Black First! – Land First!  A revolutionary Call

“For a colonized people the most essential value, because it’s the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”- Frantz Fanon

Twenty years after democracy black people are still at the bottom of society. We, the black majority, are last instead of being the first in our own country. Now we have decided to put black people first! It is only when we as black people are seen and treated as the rightful owners of this country shall we be really liberated and treated with the dignity that we deserve. The first step to black liberation – to achieve dignity and an end to white arrogance and racism – is LAND FIRST! It is land that shall put BLACKS FIRST! Without LAND we are nothing! With LAND we are everything we want to be and more!

In South Africa right now, there is no revolutionary movement that puts black first and land first! We lost hope on the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) when in April 2015 it’s president, Julius Malema, sold out the land principle of “expropriation of (all) land without compensation”. In this regard Malema assured the white agricultural capitalist class in Stellenbosch that as long “as it’s a productive farm, we don’t have to interfere with the production on that piece of land” and opted instead for the anti black demand of expropriation and occupation of“non-productive land” only. Furthermore, he told the land thieves that when there is a part of the land “which is not used for agriculture purposes, we would be having a problem. All we are saying is the land must be used. It must not lie idle.” He thus gave a guarantee to land thieves that “their” land is secured and that blacks shall only occupy unused and unproductive land. What an insult! We don’t want crumbs! We want all our land because it is ours!

Blacks last in their country!

Black people are last in all areas of life. First and foremost, we are last when it comes to land ownership. The white settler minority has the land while we blacks are landless! Out of the 54 million people in South Africa only 35 000 white families including white businesses own more than 80% of the land. Since 1994, the ANC government has bought 8% of the land from whites at the cost of about R50 billion! The ANC is using our money to buy back the stolen land. Since 1994 more than 1 million black people have been forcibly removed from farms! Farm workers are slaves in SA. The restitution-claiming communities, who are victims of apartheid land removals, remain landless after 20 years of ANC rule! In urban areas black people have no housing because they are landless. The housing prices are out of reach for most blacks. In this context, most black professionals cannot even afford housing because of the landlessness. If we were to rely on the current land policies of the ANC it will take more than100 years to buy back only 30% of the land.

Black people are last when it comes to employment!  More than 45% of black people are unemployed compared to only 5% of white people! Whites are only 10% of the economically active population but occupy over 60% of the top management positions.

Black people are last when it comes to income! White families earn six times more than what black families earn. A black family’s annual income is a meagre R60 000, whereas a white family earns an annual income of R360 000. Added to this factual situation is the reality that on an average a black family is comprised of 6 people compared to a white family of about 3 people.

We are last even when it comes to education. Shockingly only 5% of blacks complete their university or tertiary education. Most black students are excluded from university due to financial constraints.

It is not a secret that black people are also at the bottom of the economy. To this end, inter alia, blacks only own about 3% of the listed JSE companies.

Enough is enough!  We have decided to fight for Black First through ensuring Land First!
All the political parties and social movements in South Africa are currently not for Black First and Land First! The ruling party and the opposition parties do not put black people first. The politicians are apologetic when it comes to the demands of blacks and in particular the resolution of the land question.

We hereby invite all those who believe like we do that it is time to put BLACK FIRST! LAND FIRST!  to hold hands with us so as to build a revolutionary movement based on TWO basic principles:

1. BLACK FIRST                                  

Black people are the first people on earth! We blacks gave the white world life and civilization but slavery, colonialism and apartheid have put blacks last. We are now correcting this injustice by calling for Black First! By black we mean all those who are oppressed and dispossessed  by colonialism and apartheid. The system of divide and rule has been sustained by creating misunderstandings amongst the oppressed. In this context the elites from within the black community have further fuelled tribal animosities. Black First seeks to end all divisions and contradictions amongst the people so as to consolidate them into a united strong block against white racism and dispossession. Black First follows the liberating truth that “the last shall be first”. We have been overlooked for far too long! Putting Black First means ending suffering, poverty, landlessness and all the other ills of white supremacy that characterize the black condition.  Black First is a call for blacks to love themselves, to care for each other and to fight for their liberation and dignity.

2. Land First!

Without land there is no freedom or dignity. We want Land First because it is the basis of our freedom, our identity, our spiritual well-being, our economic development and culture. The land of Africans was stolen and this theft has rendered us landless in our own land. We want all the land with all of its endowments on its surface together with all the fortunes underground as well as the sky. All of it belongs to us! We are a people crying for our stolen land! Now we have decided to get it back by any means necessary!

Our philosophy of liberation is Black Consciousness and Pan Africanism

Our guiding philosophical outlook is both the Black Consciousness of Steve Bantu Biko and the Pan Africanism of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, which we believe constitute a wholistic single philosophy of Black liberation.

The above philosophy encompasses “Sankofa” African wisdom as expressed by the symbolism of the Sankofa bird. To this end the Sankofa bird indicates our commitment to learn from the past so as to create the present and a new future. We must be committed to learn from all our past – from antiquity to yesterday – so that we may create a better and improved today.

A Sankarist Leadership ethos

We pledge to build a revolutionary movement, that is Sankarist in belief and practice, following and honouring the revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara. We believe that for the movement to succeed it needs a servant leadership – an accountable, democratic, responsive leadership that puts black people first!

We invite you to come and build a revolutionary movement with us, so as to fight for the following ideals:

1. Land first! We will not buy back our stolen land!

2. Black First! The black majority must be centred and prioritized!

3. Mineral rights belong to the people! Let the people own and benefit directly!

4. Employment and a minimum wage! Quality Jobs Now! R12 500 minimum wage is non-negotiable! Employment protection, and sickness and vacation rights from the first day of employment. Equal pay to be legally enforced and realized! An end to labour brokerage!

5. Basic income for all Now! No one should go to bed on an empty stomach!

6. Housing is a right! End all squatter camps in five years!

7. Healthcare is a right! Build hospitals and train nurses and doctors!

8. Anti Racism. Declare racism a crime!

9. Anti sexism and anti homophobia. Fight to end women oppression and homophobia!

10. Socialism! Only fair distribution of wealth can bring about real economic freedom!

11. Pro-people Industrialization. Follow ecologically friendly industrialization!  

12. African dignity and unity! Africa is one and her liberation paramount!

13. Mental liberation! The biggest disease killing Africa is ignorance and colonial mind-sets.

14. All elected members of parliamant and public servants must use public services!

15. The Thomas Sankara Oath and the People’s Manifesto are our eyes to guide us to total liberation for real.

16. Youth Advancement. The future belongs to the youth!

17. Education for all! Mass quality education responding to societal developmental challenges and building a socialist people’s first culture must be extended to all.

Politicians and political parties have shown their hands. They do not believe in what they say. They are too quick to sell black people out. No political party currently believes in Land First but we must not lose hope!  We must build a new revolutionary movement that aims to overthrow this anti-black racist, capitalist rule that started in 1652 and was not ended in1994.  Unorganized, we cannot win the battle for a Free Azania.  The time for Black First, Land First is now! Let us together turn this dream into reality.

Issued by: Andile Mngxitama on behalf of the Interim National Coordinating Committee of the BlackFirst! Land First! Movement.

For more information contact Black First! Land First! via the following email address: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

13 August 2015″

Further details regarding BLF’s Launch Conference will be provided in due course. 

#Coz’94ChangedFokol
#ReturnLandEndRacism

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

27 April 2016

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com

THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT APPLAUDS THE GREAT WORK DONE IN FORMING THE BLF STUDENT MOVEMENT AT TUT SOSHANGUVE.THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT APPLAUDS THE GREAT WORK DONE IN FORMING THE BLF STUDENT MOVEMENT AT TUT SOSHANGUVE.

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Since the inception of the Fees Must Fall campaign, BLF-SM TUT Soshanguve has played a critical role both at their institution, as well as when the protest action confronted state power at the Union Buildings.

The heroic nature of these students has been seen as they lead in the contestation of ideas, sacrifice of academic time due to principally shutting down the institution; and still they have mustered on ensuring that the BLF-SM is registered and recognised at TUT Soshanguve. We recognise the work done by these revolutionaries, and that at this time when one’s own academic interest is considered central to ones future, these cadres remain committed to black liberation.

Learning from SASO we recognise that BLF-SM, as a student organisation, is an integral part of the movement for black liberation. We accordingly applaud the courage of our comrades who practice this black truth as we collectively build a united principled black first movement.

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT (BLF NCC)

26 APRIL 2016

Contact Details
Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@­gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.co­m

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.c­om

BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST WELCOMES MINISTER MBALULA’S DECISION TO REVOKE THE RIGHTS OF THE WHITES ONLY NATIONAL TEAMS.

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As a revolutionary movement, Black First Land First (BLF), is not in the business of congratulating this government which has consistently in the past 22 years served whites at the expense of blacks. However, the action taken by Minister Mbalula needs to be applauded and he must be encouraged to use all the instruments of transformation he has to the fullest extent possible. The timidity of the ANC government in front of white people is a disgrace and shame. It is for this reason that small acts like the decision of the Minister to revoke the rights of the whites only national teams must be welcomed. The ANC must see this as an example – that calling and acting on transformation is now going to make the heavens fall.

BLF has consistently campaigned against the white teams. During the last Rugby World Cup, our movement took the stance of picketing against the Springboks and ran a social media campaign under #WhiteSpringBoksMustFall. BLF joined the millions of conscious people in our country and the world who celebrated each time the White Bokke lost a game. We shall always remember the memes that came with the loss to Japan and the festivities in our streets because the Springbok team, as it is currently constituted, is a Eurpean team that proclaims to represent South Africa. This is also true for Netball, Cricket and athletics. South Africa is a black majority country and in this context our sporting codes, as all other aspects of life including the economy, must reflect this reality.

The decision by Minister Mbalula is light and soft given the seriousness of the crime of refusal to transform our society. Sports places an important role in the symbolic order of things and helps channel the self-awareness of a people. The psychological violence perpetrated on the nation and in particular black children is incalculable. What must they think when they see our national team which doesn’t reflect them? The message sent is that blacks are not good enough and would therefore have to take their position at the back of the queue. This is violence against blacks and it must end!

BLF calls on Minister Mbalula to act with more vigour and resolve and to this end move steadily towards implementing the other elements of the Memoranda of Agreements (MOA’s) signed with the various sporting codes, which have been violated. The “Transformation Barometer” is itself mild and doesn’t call for complete representativity in that it requires 60% black representation instead of a proportion that will reflect the demographics of SA being, 89% black.

The Minister can, in terms of the various MOA’s, still take a number of actions.  BLF is now calling on the Minister to evaluate progress in the next six months and to thereafter impose such punitive measure(s) available to him according to the MOA, including the withdrawal of government’s recognition of the federations which have failed to meet the country’s real transformation barometer.  Basically, the government must withhold the national colors from the defaulting sporting codes. This will effectively serve as a deterrent as well as a preventative measure with the aim of ultimately decolonizing sport.

SA remains a laughing stock amongst nations. Our people remain landless in their own land.  This must change and change fast. The ruling party has shown no capacity to have a spine and the necessary foresight to deal with the challenges of transformation. This is so because it is afraid to offend white sensibilities. BLF shall continue to demand that the White Springboks and all the other white teams must fall!  Until our national teams reflect BLACK we shall not root for them!

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

26 April 2016

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com

Invitation To The Black Agenda Launch Conference

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Black First Land First (BLF) invites all its members and supporters to the launch of the Black Agenda.

BLF shall hold its launch conference in Soweto on the 14 of May 2016.

The launch conference shall adopt the founding policies and principles under the title BLACK AGENDA.

To participate in the conference please RSVP by email to blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com – also send your ideas for the BLACK AGENDA via the same email before 5 May 2016.

19 April 2016

Issued by Andile Mngxitama, National Convenor BLF

BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST (BLF) SENDS REVOLUTIONARY SOLIDARITY TO THE PEOPLE OF BRAZIL AND THE WORKERS PARTY

Brothers and Sisters from the Workers Party (PT). We write from South Africa, a country just like yours, which has known the horrors of colonialism, imperialist racist dictatorship and an unending neo-liberal assault on the black majority.

We watched with great inspiration and with a revolutionary critical stance as your former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (comrade Lula) undertook brave and ingenious policy decisions to move Brazil away from the status of being world number one in inequality. A status South Africa has been competing very competently with your nation for as long as it was under neo-liberalism before your party took over. We laughed at the fact that South Africa was so competent in inequality. That we were your fiercest competition.

Today, both our nations are under attack from imperialism. We believe the attack on your current president, Dilma Rousseff, is part of the imperialist assault on the BRICS countries. They carry out this assault by using internal agents within the political system of our nations. We also share with other progressive peoples of the world the view that, what triggered the coup is the possibility of the return of the most loved son of the Brazilian people, comrade Lula, to continue the programme of making the lives of the excluded majority better. The ruling classes of Brazil have now teamed up with imperialism for a right wing restoration.

Our movement, Black First Land First (BLF) agrees with the assessment of PT, what is happening in Brazil today is a coup! As we write to you, we don’t know what the vote of the lower house has revealed. Have the deputies voted for imperialism to realise the impeachment or have the deputies of the lower house remembered to defend the sovereignty of Brazil?
We speak from South Africa, another BRICS country under imperialist attack. Here, like in Brazil, our compatriots have chosen to side with imperialism and the white land owning classes to effect regime change for the consolidation of white power. The difference between Brazil and South Africa is that our ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has chosen not to fight the local and global forces of capitalism and racism. Our president, Jacob Zuma, has half-heartedly and for narrow personal reasons under taken a “Look East ” strategy. A strategy which is not part of a national reconstruction program to mobilise the masses towards ending colonial humiliation and hunger. The forces of imperialism are sufficiently irritated with these mild actions of defiance and have decided to remove him. If such a regime change is fulfilled, it can achieve the objective of disrupting the BRICS project. So, the local agents of imperialism who have political ambitions to consolidate racial capitalism and imperialism have a common course.

On our part, we say the best form of defence against imperialism is going on a total offensive against capitalism and imperialism. Our comradely criticism of PT is that is has been too soft on capitalism. This mistake has opened you up for assault. We say, stop negotiating with capital. Rather do the right thing – liquidate capitalism and ensure the defeat of imperialism. Give land to the landless! Mobilise the voting millions into combatants against imperialism for national reconstruction. Socialise the means of production.
This is also our message for South Africa. Our president recently asked for forgiveness following a Constitutional Court finding that he violated the constitution of the land by using state funds to build his Nkandla home. BLF forgave the president conditionally. Amongst the conditions we put forward is that the president must immediately return land to the black majority. We have also asked him to release all political prisoners of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) who were jailed for fighting against white supremacy prior to the advent of democracy in 1994. Yes, South Africa still has black political prisoners in its jails!

There is only one way to defend ourselves against imperialism and that is to be true to the slogan of BLF, Stop Imperialism – Take back the land!
Your movement has to escalate the revolutionary process outside the chambers of parliament. Only the people can deliver the revolutionary process which is being suffocated by imperialism today.

We send you solidarity, love and courage.

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL CONVENOR OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
17 April 2016
Andile Mngxitama

GET WELL SOON, WINNIE!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Winnie) is currently in hospital receiving medical attention for back problems. Winnie’s stay in hospital is said to be a follow up to a previous surgical procedure she underwent in March this year.

As a revolutionary movement of the Black Consciousness and Pan Afrikanist tradition, whenever we are confronted with responding to anything “Winnie” we are reminded of the many unanswered big questions surrounding the link between Winnie, the Mandela United Football Club and the death of Black Consciousness leader Dr Abu Baker Asvat  on 27 January 1989. We are also not satisfied that in 1998 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had done all that was necessary to arrive at the truth in this respect.

Having said that we are, at this point, nonetheless reminded of what happened on October 20, 2004 when Fidel Castro injured himself after delivering a speech. It is said that on the next day the United States government “publicly refused the common courtesy” of wishing him a speedy recovery.

The Cuban State Department (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) subsequently responded by reminding the US of its message of condolence regarding the death of President Ronald Reagan in June 2004 when it declared inter alia as follows:

“President Ronald Reagan was a tenacious opponent of  the Cuban Revolution, but Cuban revolutionaries possess a sense of ethics and honor that is incompatible with the idea of issuing critical judgements or attacks at what is a moment of profound sorrow for his family. That has been and will always be the conduct of the Cuban people and leadership.”

As BLF we agree with the attitude of the  Cuban Government that irrespective of political differences common courtesy dictates that in moments of sorrow and illness it is revolutionary to wish the sick a speedy recovery and to comfort family members. We also acknowlege that Winnie’s contribution to the liberation struggle is invaluable and her revolutionary legacy in this regard will continue to inspire us going forward.

We wish Winnie a speedy recovery and strenght and comfort to her family

#GetWellSoonWinnie

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

16 April 2016

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Zanele Lwana
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 486 9087
Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com