A remarkable organizing and self-directed popular education movement

May 9, 2015

"One can see all these elements today in the Abahlali movement and the "University of Abahlali', a remarkable organizing and self-directed popular education movement in South Africa created by tens of thousands of shack dwellers in 34 townships in Kwa Zulu Natal. Fighting for land and housing, for an end to forced removals, and for access to education, water, electricity, sanitation, health, care and refuse removal, the Abahlai movement has also been at the forefront of fighting xenophobic violence. Sympathetic professional and intellectuals play a variety of roles, but 'on tap, not on top', in the organizing phrase. In its mode of organizing, Abahlali has impacted civil life, gender relations and governance, as well as creating a cosmopolitan culture that asserts the humanity of immigrants. It has also developed the concept of 'living politics' contrasted with 'party politics'. 'Abahlali has been an intellectually serious project from the beginning', reads the web site. 'Our struggle is thought in action', says S'bu Zikode, one of Abahlali's leaders. 'We define ourselves and our struggle'."

 

Source: Harry C. Boyte. 'Civic Driven Change and Development Democracy. Essay 7 in the Civic Driven Change. p.5 From: Alan Fowler & Kees Biekart (eds) (2008) Civic Driven Change: Citizen's Imagination in Action. The Hague: The Institute of Social Studies. Their source info: see http://www.abahlali.org

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