Comrade Mandla Khoza (or “MK,” as his friends and comrades knew him) passed away on Friday 26 July in his home town of Siphofaneni, Swaziland (Eswatini). He had long suffered from sugar diabetes. He leaves behind four children. One of the pioneering members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) founded in South Africa on May Day 2003, MK was committed to a social revolution that would place power and wealth in the hands of the working class, the peasants and the poor. As he would often say: “It doesn’t matter if you change who sits on the throne: you have to get rid of the throne itself.” This obituary commemorates his life Continue reading
ZACF Response to The Times of Swaziland: Zabalaza DOES NOT claim bombing of police van
(18 January , 2006)
(A letter to the editor of The Times of Swaziland, which carried an article in the January 15th edition falsely saying that the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation claimed responsibility for bombing a police van).
In The Times of Swaziland, Sunday Edition of January 15, under the headline “Zabalaza’s claims of bombing police van” by Mduduzi Magagula it seems to us that he has misread the report when he says “Also shocking in the claims is that they stoned and petrol bombed a police vehicle in Manzini during a PUDEMO organised demonstration recently.”
The newspaper quotes our website Continue reading
Armed struggle a viable substitute for the mass movement?
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement (7 December, 2006)
Recent reports in The Star (25/11/06) allege that the development of the “armed struggle” tendency within a section of the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland could be accelerating. Given that the pro-democracy movement has set itself the goal of liberation in 2008, it is understandable that frustration has led some comrades in this direction.
We do not believe that an “armed struggle” approach is appropriate. The dangers inherent in such an approach are many. We support the right of the oppressed to self-defense against repression.
However, “armed struggle” is generally not a Continue reading
ZACF Statement on the Murder of PUDEMO Deputy President Dr. Gabriel Thandokuhle Mkhumane
Tuesday April 08, 2008 by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front was saddened and concerned to learn of the murder of People’s United Democratic Movement Deputy President Dr. Gabriel Thandokuhle Mkhumane.
Although the truth behind his murder seems unclear, with some mainstream newspapers in Swaziland reporting that C’de Mkhumane was victim of a violent robbery, and although township life is by definition far from safe from random criminality; the murder took place close to Swaziland, in an area where many Swazis live and in which their intelligence and undercover cops operate, so we feel the likelihood is great that this was a politically-motivated assassination.
It appears to indicate the murderous nature of the Mswati regime, and the degree to which the regime will go to protect its interests, and though it creates a martyr for Pudemo, the hit (if it is such) must be seen as a blow against the very idea of popular democracy in Swaziland, a blow directed at the people as a whole by targeting a figure representative (in the state’s mind at least) of that people.
Our sympathies go out to all those who have lost a friend, comrade or family member. We urge Swazi revolutionaries and freedom fighters not to be disheartened or deterred from their revolutionary duties, and we hope that anyone who is in a position to delve deeper and get to the truth behind C’de Mkhumane’s murder does so.
It is true that many a freedom fighter, both in swaziland and exiled around the world, have lost a friend and a comrade, but the struggle continues. Let us all be inspired by the life of a comrade dedicated to the overthrow of the Tinkhundla system, as well as being incensed by his murder; resolving to do all that we can, in our own way, to strengthen, advance and support the Swazi people in their struggle for freedom.
Anarchist Statement in Solidarity with Swazi Students at Wits University
Saturday January 16, 2010, by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – Wits Anarchist Society
We condemn the recent unilateral decision by Wits management to no longer accept many Swazi students’ medical aid provider, Swazi Med, for the current academic year. This is an unfair move by the university so close to the registration period. It means an additional burden on students from one of the poorest and most authoritarian states in the world, many of whom come from poor backgrounds and study in South Africa not out of choice but necessity.
International students have to pay Continue reading
Swazi youth day (Phillip Nyalungu, 18 January 2006)
During the uprising in Swaziland on the 23rd January 1997 the police gunned down a young girl sent by her parents to the shop. It happened that Noxolo was a member of a student organization that comprised Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) members: SWAYOCO is the youth wing of the illegal pro-democracy party, the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). This sad experience immediately evoked the parallel situation in South Africa in 1976 in the the minds of Swazi youth. This gives us a very clear picture on how quickly the masses learn from, and inspire, each other’s struggles. Eventually the 23rd January was declared Youth Day in Swaziland by PUDEMO.
But this didn’t remove the gun barrel aimed at the Swazi youth by the Swaziland Royal Police. The policemen who shot Noxolo Continue reading
Swaziland report (17 January 2005, ZACF shadow international secretary)
You are in Manzini! The taxi has a South African registration and is blasting toyi-toyi (struggle) songs, reminding you of the days when people’s fear was replaced by the spirit of resistance, the fight against apartheid regime coupled with its demise with the 1994 elections.
Among the folks, individuals are wearing bright yellow ANC t-shirts with Mbeki’s head, as if they are appealing to the Swazi king: “Please learn from the South African government. If you don’t listen, the same thing that happened to the former South African regime is going to happen to yours.” Many people are attracted to immigrate to South Africa for jobs. When they visit back home they introduce the life of the big city: they’ve tasted a different life to their fellow-country people, which is giving them guts Continue reading
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front was part of the Solidarity Committee that supported the historic 2010-2011 Mine Line Factory occupation in Krugersdorp. This is confirmed in the newspaper Izwi Labasabenzi, in an article available here. It was however critical of proposals that the factory be nationalized “under workers’ control,” arguing instead for self-management: see here. The occupation was almost completely ignored by the mass media: for one of the few reports, see here.
Timothy Scarnecchia, 2012, “Mzingeli, Charles, 1905-1980,” Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr (eds.), 2012, Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press, pp. 379-380.
Get the PDF here
Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat,” Business Day, 27 March, from here
The late Stephen Hawkins had the following to say about the onset of the so-called 4th Industrial revolution: “If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”
What Hawkins was highlighting in this statement is that in a different society, machines could be of benefit to all of humanity. However, in the current class based capitalist society, machines pose a dire threat to the majority of people and the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution will lead to the vast inequalities that already exist increasing exponentially.
World Bank statistics show that currently automation is responsible for 17% of production and services, in 15 years this is projected to rise to 40%. A common held belief by most of the middle class is that automation is a threat only to blue collar workers but this is becoming more and more untrue. The full computerisation of bank tellers, clerks, bookkeepers and pharmacists jobs is an increasing reality and will soon start affecting the work of teachers, doctors, pilots and architects. To understand why mechanisation and automation is being rolled out today; and why this poses such a threat, it is important to understand how they have been used under capitalism in the past and for what purposes.
An important feature of the introduction of machines historically is that a small elite have owned Continue reading
Shawn Hattingh, 2019, “A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war,” Daily Maverick, 5 March, from here.
For the past few years, most people would have come across news stories of how Kurdish fighters in Syria, especially women, have been crucial in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Very few, however, would be aware that in the north and eastern parts of Syria these same Kurdish fighters are part of a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far-reaching as any in history.
In the north and eastern parts of Syria, an attempt to create an alternative system to hierarchical states, capitalism and patriarchy is underway and should it fully succeed Continue reading
Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “An Experiment for a Better Life is Under Way,” Business Day, 5 March, Business Day, from here
The Rojava Revolution lays down tracks to building a better, more democratic and more feminist society.
The world is facing an economic crisis on a scale last seen in the 1930s. It has resulted in living conditions and incomes of workers and poor people — and increasingly the middle class — being eroded by governments through austerity and by businesses through rationalisations and wage freezes.
Like the 1930s, this crisis is triggering the rise of extreme right-wing regimes and right-wing populism. It is also resulting in an increase in global conflict and threats of war, with Syria a key example.
But in the heart of the raging war that is Syria, there is a glimmer of hope.
In the north of Syria bordering Turkey and Iraq, the Kurdish and Arab people Continue reading
A Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF, later Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front) leaflet making the case against participation in state elections — the target audience was activists in the “new social movements” of the time like the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) coalition, and the Landless Peoples’ Movement (LPM). It was written ahead of the 2004 national elections in South Africa, which were to be followed by the 2005 local government elections. The issue of running a movement-backed “workers party” was a major issue in the APF, where ZACF was most active.
Get the PDF here.
Shawn Hattingh, 2014, “Exploding Anger: Workers’ Struggles and Self-Organization in South Africa’s Mining Industry,” in Immanuel Ness, editor, 2014, New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism , PM Press, Oakland, CA, pp. 97-114, 281-282, 295-298
Get the PDF here
Zabalaza News was a short-lived bulletin by ZACF in the late 2000s: see for information here
Here is a (rare) copy of Zabalaza News: issue 4 from 2011.
There was evidently a break in production, as the previous issue was in 2008.
It is not clear if there is an issue 5.
Issue 1 seems to be missing.