On September 30th, Abahlali baseMjondolo (Abahlali) was engaged in protesting the demolition of over 100 homes and the forced evictions of families from the Cato Crest informal settlement. The settlement, where an estimated 500 people gathered for the protest, is located about seven kilometers from the city center of Durban in the South African province KwaZuluNatal. It is our understanding from Abahlali and various news sources that the Cato Manor police responded with such force that a 17-year-old girl who was part of the protest—Nqobile Nzuza—was shot and killed. Additionally, two other women appear to have been injured by gunshots. When the General Secretary of Abahlali, Bandile Mdlalose, arrived at the scene to extend her condolences to the Nzuza family, she was immediately arrested. Abahlali reports that this is the third death the movement has experienced in the last year as a result of taking solidarity actions with families resisting forced displacement from Cato Crest. Residents are also under continuous threats and face serious beatings by the police (see abahlali.org).
On October 14, 2013, members of New York City’s social justice community led by Picture the Homeless held a solidarity rally in front of the South African Embassy to show support for our brothers and sisters facing state violence and repression in Durban.
Many U.S. human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo. We urge everyone concerned with economic and social rights and the right to protest to respond to Abahlali’s call.
For updated information on the situation in South Africa, visit abahlali.org.
Camera, editing and sound by BING WANG at NESRI