2009: Interview with Zimbabwean Anarchist Communist

Interview with Zimbabwean Anarchist Communist

A member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front caught up with Biko, an anarchist communist militant from the Uhuru Network in Zimbabwe, on August 10th 2009 when he was in Johannesburg to attend the annual Khanya College Winter School.

In this interview Biko talks about the changes in the social, political and economic landscape since the Government of National Unity came into being; the state of the unions and students’ movement; the suppression of gays and lesbians; the constitutional reform process and expected Zanu-PF campaigns of violence ahead of the next elections.

The audio is rather poor quality, but can be found here (off-site, seems to be down)

The transcript of the interview is, however, available below. Also seeToyi Toyi Artz Kollektive website

 Could you please tell us how the political, social and economic landscape has changed since the Government of National Unity came into being?

The first thing is that there has been a bit of an opening up of democratic space in terms of people articulating, but in terms of the socio-economic situation things have worsened, particularly with the dollarisation of the economy. This has had much more of a negative impact on the rural communities and, with particular regard to the urban communities and given the fact that 85 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, Continue reading

Zimbabwe: Two radical poems published by anarchist-influenced Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive

Two radical poems published April 2009 by the Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive, Zimbabwe.

Source: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/12654


Raise Your Fist

If you are warrior Raise Your Fist High!
Are you a warrior Raise Your Fist!

A Bobo lion Babylon won’t give me a visa
Coz I’m a toyitoyi teacher, pro-zapatista
Anti-capitalista, I’m the counter-culture
I’m rooted in the spirit like a Shona sculpture
Refuse to lose, used, fused to propaganda
X on the ballot so we struggle no longer
The shit-stem keeps on coming on stronger
Uncle bob, uncle sam
Or another uncle tom,
We remain the same
Poor and we’re unemployed
A black president, a woman head of state
Another window dresser seals the working-class fate
The democratic right to choose a new slave-master
Cosmetic changes make the slave work faster
So until the power is in the hands of the people
I’ll be in the streets chanting change still a rebel
I’ll be in the streets chanting change still a rebel

If you are warrior Raise Your Fist High!
Are you a warrior Raise Your Fist High!


It’s the anti-capitalistic, anarchistic
Activists gone ballistic
It’s the anti-capitalistic, anarchistic
Activists gone ballistic

We represent the seven principles of kwanza
Toyitoyi is back it’s the lyrical bonanza
Babylon is searching me looking for the ganja
We are down on the wheels working on a tyre puncture
She Govanwa G.O.D.obori n’ Fati Kwako
Watching ghetto people scatter-fear of the po-po
Domain of the pharaohs is Fio-it’s the ghetto
Salads can’t come thru the section-it’s a no go
We have anarchist flags flying on the logo
In a land ready-made for bhinghi n’ the bobo
The tyre on the wheel plunges into the pot-hole
Watch me deal with the snitch – smack him with a bottle
We are writing on the wall, so I’m pressing on the nozzle
It’s letters that I’m good at- working in the dojo
But nowadays is hard coz the paints will cost you more dough
So they shoplift, liberate them from your top store

It’s the anti-capitalistic, anarchistic
Activists gone ballistic
It’s the anti-capitalistic, anarchistic
Activists gone ballistic

Related Link: http://www.toyitoyi.blogspot.com/

Soundz of the South/ Unemployed People’s Movement, July 2012: Rhini Festival of Reistance, Grahamstown

Rhini Festival of Resistance (Counter “National Arts Festival” @ Grahamstown)

The [annual] National Arts Festival [at Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa] is an elite festival. Poor people are excluded. Even if art is made about poor people by rich people we can’t afford to come and see it!

Our attempts to engage the current festival management have been fruitless. The hostility to our struggles has been made very clear.

Therefore on 1-7 July the Unemployed Peoples Movement (UPM), Soundz of the South and the UHURU Network [of Zimbabwe – ed.]will host the 1st Rhini Festival of Resistance in Rhini (Grahamstown). We are happy to be able to announce that we will be joined by comrades from our sister organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Our festival of resistance will include poetry, street theatre, a street art and graffiti workshop, music, political discussions, a radical film festival and more. Lesego Rampolokeng will present his poetry and films that will be shown will include Dear Mandela, The Uprising in Hangberg, Che, Injury Time, Hunger and more. Continue reading

Chimurenga! The Lessons of the Zimbabwe Liberation War – ARM, “Unrest,” 1994

THE VICTORY OF a seemingly militant ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) in Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence elections, following a long guerrilla war (the Chimurenga”) against White colonialism, was greeted with jubilation. Today, the hopes raised have dissipated; modern Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) is marked by continuity with colonial social and economic structures. This article examines, from a radical perspective, why the national liberation struggle failed to achieve its basic goals, and the lessons this holds for struggle today. Continue reading

Ballistic – She Govanwa, April/May 2010, Harare, Zimbabwe

Uhuru Network logoIt’s the anti-capitalistic, anarchistic
Activist gone ballistic

He didn’t battle emcees he fought with the government
Kidnapped the MPs and burnt down the parliament
His punchlines overthrew the president
He was a bulldozer going through impediments
Transferred the power from the state to the residents
Bombed cop stations and destroyed all the evidence
To him bourgeois democracy was just another pestilence
These were not just his views, but the working class sentiment
He expressed himself in spite of the censorship
He was a war veteran fighting the dictatorship
His thoughts were anarchy, his words were hardcore
Disturbing the peace, waging war on the status quo Continue reading

Kadalie and the ICU – graphic from South African radical journal “Africa Perspective” in 1981 (no. 19)

Kadalie and the ICU

Kadalie and the ICU – graphic from South African radical journal “Africa Perspective” in 1981 (no. 19)

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa (the ICU) was the largest black union and protest movement in 1920s South Africa, also spreading into neighbouring Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South West Africa (now Namibia).  It was influenced by IWW syndicalism, even adopting a version of the IWW constitution in 1925, and pushed for a general strike the next year. However, syndicalism was not the only influence: ICU ideas were, as writers like Helen Bradford have shown, an unstable mix, drawing from currents as far apart as Garveyism and liberalism. It’s internal structures were also far from the participatory democratic ideal. However, if the ICU was not truly syndicalist, Lucien van der Walt argues, it cannot be understood unless the syndicalist influence is noted.

“A History of the IWW in South Africa” – Lucien van der Walt, 2001

IWW logo

This article was published by Lucien van der Walt in Direct Action (Australia, Summer 2001) as “Many Races, One Union! The IWW, revolutionary syndicalism and working class struggle in South Africa, 1910-21.” It was reprinted in Bread and Roses (Britain, Autumn 2001) as “A History of the IWW in South Africa.”

Note: An incomplete version has also appeared on the internet under the title “1816-1939: Syndicalism in South Africa,” described as “a short history of radical trade unionism, class struggle and race in Southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries.”  The dates are wrong (there was no syndicalism anywhere in 1816, and while the IWW-influenced ICU would last in Zimbabwe into the 1950s, there was no syndicalism in South Africa in 1939) and several paragraphs are missing, in that version.

For PDF of scanned Direct Action version: click here

For PDF of scanned Bread and Roses version: click here

Lucien van der Walt, Autumn 2001, “A History of the IWW in South Africa,” Bread and Roses

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and the ideas, goals and organisational practices for which it stood, had an important influence on the early labour movement and radical press in South Africa. It also had an impact on neighbouring Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, at least five unions were founded on the IWW model in this period. Four of these unions pioneered the organisation of workers of colour, most notably the Industrial Workers of Africa, the first union for African workers in South African history Continue reading