ZACF (2005): Anarchist arrested by Swazi regime

Several weeks ago “MK”, a member of the Soutern African Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation’s underground structures in Swaziland was arrested.

He was among eight Swaziland youth congress (SWAYOCO) members detained by police following a SWAYOCO demonstration in the city of Manzini on Saturday, October 1st.

The SWAYOCO demonstration was to protest against King Sobhuza II’s autocratic decree of 1973 that outlawed all pro-democratic political activity in this, Africa’s last remaining “white” (monarchist) dictatorship. Today Sobhuza’s successor, King Mswati III, presides over one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rates, in a country where for people to draw water from a stream without permission is a crime – while he continues to splurge millions of rands on a private jet, swan around in a r2-million luxury Maybach vehicle and a string of palaces, and kidnap schoolgirls as his brides.

Over the past two years, the ZACF has established a presence in Swaziland as the only grassroots revolutionary organisation pushing for the overthrow of the king and of the british-south african extractive capitalism he supports.

Working within and outside of SWAYOCO, the ZACF has popularised anarchist class struggle ideas among politically-conscious youth. Countering Saturday’s SWAYOCO demonstration in which the ZACF participated, the royal Swazi police fired warning shots and in the resulting chaos, arrested “MK” and seven SWAYOCO comrades. Last month, however, the shoe was on the other foot, when an armoured police “hippo” that wandered into comrade-controlled territory found itself stoned and petrol-bombed.

“MK” and his seven comrades have apparently been charged with “disturbing the peace” – a charge that was of course not levelled at the police who started the shooting. “MK” was visited in the “Zakhele Detention Centre” in Manzini and was in high spirits, but is an ill man and is not able to take his regular medication. Bail has been set at r1,500 by the state, but civic organisations are trying to get the bail reduced to r500 – still a huge sum in this extremely poor southern African country.

For more information, contact the ZACF

MI & MD,
International Secretaries,
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation,
South Africa & Swaziland

ZACF
Postnet Suite 153
Private Bag X42
Braamfontein
2017
South Africa

www.zabalaza.net

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About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m 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 100s of papers conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 4 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and produced five books. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. My books includd include 'Politics at a Distance from the State: Radical and African Perspectives' (2018, co-edited with Kirk Helliker), 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' and 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014).