Film: `A Place in the City' -- A world class city for whom? World Cup tourists and the rich, or the poor majority?

July 7, 2010 -- Abahlali baseMjondolo -- Sixteen years since apartheid ended, and amid the hoopla and false hopes promoted by the 2010 soccer World Cup, millions of black South Africans still live in self-built shacks – without sanitation, adequate water supplies or electricity. In Durban, almost in the shadow of the massive multibillion-rand Moses Mabhida stadium [paradoxically named after a veteran leader of South Africa's Communist Party], poor people are fighting for their right to live near work, schools and health facilities.

A Place in the City -- made in 2008 -- will overturn all your assumptions about "slums" and the people who live in them. In this film, shot in the vast shack settlements in and around Durban, members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the grassroots shackdwellers’ movement, lay out their case – against forcible eviction; for decent services – with passion, eloquence, and sweet reason. The film captures the horrible conditions in which shackdwellers live – but it also captures Abahlali’s bravery and resilience, in a political climate where grassroots campaigners like them are more likely to be met with rubber bullets than with offers to talk.

"For the first time now", says S’bu Zikode, Abahlali’s elected leader, "poor people have started to speak for themselves. Now, that challenges those who are paid to think for us – who are paid to speak for us."

At the heart of Abahlali’s struggle is the struggle for meaningful citizenship rights for South Africa’s poor majority. "Or does freedom in South Africa", asks Abahlali volunteer organiser Louisa Motha, "only belong to the rich?"

Made with assistance from FAHAMU through a grant from TrustAfrica

Date: Nov 2008
ISBN(13): ISBN: 978-1-906387-41-9

Edited at VET, Hoxton Square, London

Editor: Duncan Harris

Filmed, produced and directed by Jenny Morgan

Grey Street Films 2008

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Thu, 07/08/2010 - 14:40


5 July 2010, 14:16
Two people died and 2000 people were left homeless when up to 500 shacks
burnt down at the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban, police
said on Monday.

Colonel Jay Naicker said it was unclear how the fire started on Sunday,
but it was thought to have been caused by an overturned paraffin stove
or an illegal electrical connection.

The fire department was investigating, he said.

The fire was the fifth at the informal settlement this year, the shack
dwellers' association Abahlali basemjondolo said in a statement, adding
that 200 shacks were destroyed in a fire there in April.

It said the only reason for the fires was the lack of electricity, which
was a failure by the municipality to provide services.

Abahlali said it held a protest in March during which it raised its
concerns, but had yet to receive a response from the government.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba also urged the province and
municipality to responding to residents' housing needs and their other
long-standing concerns.

On Monday, the African National Congress conveyed its condolences to the
families of those who died. - Sapa

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 14:26


Directed by Rehad Desai

Durban International Film Fest

6pm Sun Coast , 23rd July – Director will be present for Q and A

The Battle for Johannesburg captures the changing face of a city that’s preparing to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s a tale of property developers vying for sections of the crumbling city with renewed excitement, of a city council determined to create a world class city and ultimately of how this affects the hundreds of thousands of people who have made the city slums their home. There is money to be spent, even more to be made and conflicting interests are at stake. As whole areas around stadiums get a brush up and the middle classes, black and white, begin to move back in, beneath the scramble for property and space is a human story of survival. The eyes of the world are on South Africa. The film raises universal questions such as does urban development have to mean gentrification and is it possible to create a world class city for all?  

Rehad Desai

Uhuru Productions/Tri - Continental Film Festival

Tel  +27 (0)11  334 6138/

 or 011 334 6148/6394

Fax  086 658  7731

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Sun, 07/11/2010 - 17:36


10 July 2010

Via cellphone text message

Two More Deaths in Kennedy Road

The death toll continues to rise in Kennedy.  

Today at midday two more people became victims to the violence in the settlement during an argument over building site disputes and the unfair distribution of rebuilding materials in the wake of the fire.  The KRDC, in exile, condemns and mourns the killing of fellow victims by other victims. There is a clear absence of responsible, inclusive and democratic leadership in the settlement. These killings are a result of the failure of the ANC leadership that was imposed on the settlement by Willies Mchunu and Nigel Gumde after the violent expulsion of the KRDC. After the fire, and the deep political corruption in the rebuilding process, most community members can tell who is fooling who.

When is the unnecessary bloodshed and killing of the poor by the poor going to stop? When will the residents of the settlement be able to, once again, rule themselves for themselves? When will the settlement, again, be run on the understanding that everyone, independent of political affiliation or origin, has the same rights? When will the poor be able to unite against attempts to weaken us from above by dividing us from above? Until full political freedom is restored to the Kennedy Road settlement these question will remain unanswered and division, violence and counter-violence will continue.

Peace to the shacks, struggle against the power of the rich.

For more information contact:

Nozuko Hulushe (from the internal Kennedy Road AbM Branch): 082 259 5492

Mzwake Mdlalose (from the exiled KRDC): 072 132 8458