Profiles: Bobo Makhoba, 1975-2016, ZACF founder member

Bobo Makhoba of Soweto, South Africa, was a founder member of the Zablaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later, Front), and active in the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, largest affiliate of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), a coalition of post-apartheid protest movements in Gauteng. He later moved to Trostkyism.

This obituary from here.

Hamba kahle comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)

1 October 2016, by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)

bobo

C’de Bobo at the “Reclaim June 16” demonstration in Soweto, 2009.

The ZACF is saddened to learn of the passing away of comrade Bobo Makhoba in Soweto this Thursday 29 September, at the age of 41, after a long illness. He is survived by his son, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences – as we do to the rest of his family, friends and comrades.

Bobo was a founding member of the ZACF as well as one of the original guerilla electricians for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s Operation Khanyisa campaign, which illegally reconnected thousands of households’ electricity after it was cut off for non-payment – forcing Eskom, the state electricity utility, to scrap arrears for thousands of Sowetans.

Born in KwaNongoma in KwaZulu Natal, Bobo first became involved in politics and struggle in high school, where he joined the Pan African Students Organisation.

He became involved in social movements and community struggles when he joined the SECC, soon after it was established in 2000, and later served as the organisation’s organiser and then co-ordinator.

He first came into contact with anarchism in 2002 during the mobilisations around the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development and soon thereafter established the Shesha Action Group (SAG). Based in Dlamini, Soweto – where Bobo lived – the SAG ran a study group and community food garden, as well as some of its members being active in the SECC and social movements, and was one of the founding collectives of the ZACF in 2003.

The SAG was unfortunately not very long-lived, its members dispersed and Bobo later moved toward Marxism and joined a small Trotskyite organisation but we maintained mutual respect and comradely relations. Although we saw less of him in later years we were always happy to run into him at demonstrations, where he would still ask to fly our red and black flags, or at Careers Centre in Soweto, where the SECC has its office.

Comrade Bobo Makhoba will be remembered as a dedicated and struggle-hardened working class militant who believed in direct action and grassroots organisation and made important contributions both to the ZACF, notably its model of township organising adopted in the early 2000s, and the struggle of the black working class in South Africa.

We find consolation in the belief that Bobo would not have wanted us to mourn his death, but rather for us to strengthen our resolve in the struggle of the exploited and oppressed majority against capitalism.

For our fallen comrades not a moment of silence – but a lifetime of struggle!

Interview: Lekhetho Mtetwa, 2013, on Soweto anarchism, Landless Peoples Movement (LPM)

A 2013 interview with Lekhetho Mtetwa of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), focused on his work in the Landless Peoples Movement (LPM), a post-apartheid social movement. The name notwithstanding, the LPM was mainly involved in urban squatter communities, not amongst farm-dwellers and farm-workers.

Full reference details are included in the PDF.

Get the PDF here.

Solidarity with the pro-democratic movement in Swaziland (ZACF, 26 January 2006)

Source: here

Solidarity with the pro-democratic movement in Swaziland: Swaziland Youth Day and the Sixteen Pro-Democracy Activists Facing the Death Sentence

Statement and appeal for international solidarity with Swaziland and the 16 pro-democracy activists facing the death sentence.

A woman is dead as a result of the injuries incurred from her torture, by the Swazi police, for being married to a member of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement, PUDEMO. Another 16 pro-democracy activists, arrested in December after a spate of firebomb attacks, whose charges have now been upgraded to High Treason, await their sentences of possible death or life imprisonment. And dozens of pro-democracy leaders and activists are fleeing the country in fear of their lives.

We don’t endorse the bombings, as the ZACF has consistently been against terrorism in favour of mass mobilisation; and we don’t assume that the 16 PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members did it; but we defend them and demand their release whether they did it or not. The fact that people have resorted to violence Continue reading

“The soldier has fallen”: Mandla Khoza, ZACF anarchist-communist and Swaziland activist, 22 May 1974-26 July 2019

Source: here

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” on alleged bombing (18 January , 2006)

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

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement (7 December, 2006)

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 (8 April 2008)

Source: here

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 (ZACF/ Wits Anarchist Society, 16 January 2010)

Source: here

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)

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)

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 ZACF and the 2010 Mine Line Factory Occupation

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.

Shawn Hattingh and Mandy Moussouris, 2018, “The Humans who Control the Machines are the Real Threat”

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