Twenty years of local democracy in South Africa has been very cruel for Abahlali baseMjondolo and for millions of other poor people. It has been 20 years of hell in shacks. It has been 20 years of living like pigs in the mud. It has been 20 years of living with rats, floods, fire and rotting rubbish. For those of us who have stood up for our humanity, our reward has been lies, assault, torture, wrongful arrest, the destruction of our homes and even assassination.
In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the historically Black Fillmore district – since dubbed the “Western Addition” – underwent a massive phase of urban renewal in which block after block was literally razed to the ground to make way for redevelopment. The impact on the Black community was devastating.