T-shirts (from campaigns): Campaign against “Wits 2001”, BMC role (1999/2000)

T-shirt from campaign against neo-liberal “Wits 2001” restructuring at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1999 and 2000. T-shirts were sponsored by the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) (the front of the shirt has the NEHAWU logo). NEHAWU was the main support service workers’ union on campus, perhaps 600 strong at Wits at the time, with a proud struggle history. Anarchists linked to the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC) were involved in the campaign — especially against the outsourcing of service workers, who were mainly NEHAWU members. Participation by anarchists was through the Wits 2001 Crisis Committee, NEHAWU, and the Lesedi Socialist Study Circle. The Wits Crisis Committee later merged (mid-2000) with other bodies to form the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), of which the BMC, and then the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later “Front”, the ZACF) were affiliates.

Wits 2001 A

Wits 2001 B

 

About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m 10th generation South African, born and bred. I have long been involved in union education, and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented or published 450+ papers, including conferences and workshops, co-edited 4 journal specials (on global and African labour history, and the left), and produced five books. Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). I won the 2008 international ‘Labor History’ PhD thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) award for best African dissertation, for my thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have also done research in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.