News report: BMC at the anti-EU simmit, Gothenberg, 2001

As noted in other posts (here and here), two comrades from South Africa’s anarchist  Bikisha Media Collective, a successor of the Workers Solidarity Federation (WSF), attended and spoke at the anti-European Union summit in Gothenberg, Sweden, in mid-June 2001. The following newspaper clipping (in Swedish, from Aftonbladet, then Sweden’s largest tabloid), had some coverage of the event. By sheer luck, it also included a picture (p. 15) of the BMC comrades (see main photo, the two people in the foreground, right, in brown and green jackets respectively).

Get the PDF here.


ZACF tabling: 2010 Jozi Bookfair

Pic 1The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) ran a stall at the 2010 Jozi Book Fair in Johannesburg alongside other black-oriented and left-wing publishes.  It was described as “an anarchist political organization that works to promote libertarian socialist ideas and practice within popular social movements and trade unions. Through our publishing arm, Zabalaza books, we publish and distribute a wide variety of books, pamphlets and leaflets on topics such a revolutionary history and theory, women’s liberation, ecology, revolutionary syndicalism etc.”

More here

Mirror here.




Interview/ photo: Warren McGregor of ZACF at St Imier anarchist summit, 2012

Source: Motmakt (Norway)
Warren in front of the Anarkismo tent in St-ImierIn Sunny St-Imier! Ep. 3: Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
Publisert av Adrien W den 13. september 2012 – 23:54This is the third and last interview I did while at the international anarchist conference in St-Imier, Switzerland. I speak with Warren of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front about the importance of forging both organizational and personal ties with comrades around the world. In addition Warren sheds som light on the origins og anarchism in Afrika…[Listen to interview here, read transcript below]

… Transcript of the interview
Motmakt: I’m here in beautiful St-Imier, Switzerland. And we have taken refuge from the sun and are drinking a little bit of beer and are having a great time. I am here with Warren from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front, and I was wondering Warren how did you hear of the St-Imier conference?Warren: As a member of the anarkismo network, it was through that network that we firstly made aware of the fact that the conference was happening here, which for us was very exciting, and it was through that network that we received an invitation from one of the organizers.Motmakt: This is in St-Imier, Switzerland, where one hundred and forty years ago, the first anarchist international took place. And as such it’s a pretty historically loaded place to be, and this has also been called an attempt at a second anarchist international, do you have any hopes or expectations around that?

Warren: First of all it’s very exciting for us, sometimes in South Africa, because we are the only anarchist organization that is based down in the south of Africa, at times we feel a bit isolated. So despite the fact that we know that comrades do exist in other parts of the world, meeting comrades face to face, meeting comrades that we’ve had relations with for the last ten, fifteen years gives a face to the name, to the interactions that we’ve had. So for us it’s very exciting that, you know, were not just a small group of anarchists, but were surrounded by people that are all anarchists, so on one end that’s very exciting.

My expectations for this particular meeting more specifically to get in touch with the other organizations and delegates of the members of the Anarkismo network. Again to meet face to face with them to develop personal relationships, as well as to strengthen the organizational ties that exist between our organizations. And also meet with the comrades and the delegates from new organizations or at least the organizations who have just recently joined the Anarkismo network. Again to develop personal ties and to develop organizational ties.

Motmakt:: Well in Norway, which is pretty much as far away from Africa that you get, naturally we haven’t heard a lot about anarchism in Africa. Do you have anything you can tell us about anarchism in Africa and about what the situation for anarchists is?

W: That’s quite a long story because as syndicalism, or anarchist trade unionism develops at the end of the eighteen-hundreds and nineteen-hundreds, it also spreads through particular immigrant workers and anarchist activist to the north of Africa, particularly Egypt and then down to the south of Africa through Spanish migrant workers. In fact some of the first trade unions and political organizations that sought to mobilize and organize black workers, and by black I mean African coloured or mixed race, as well Indian workers in southern Africa, they were influenced by anarchism and syndicalism. However that disappears for quite some time.

Recently anarchism has reemerged after about eighty years of Marxist and Leninist domination in South Africa. And although we are still a small movement we are a growing movement, and one that works actively with and in poor working movements in South Africa. Where we find desperate poverty, and where we find lots of people struggling on a daily basis for access to running water, electricity, housing and land. That’s generally a lot of our work. And we engage in a particular program of intensive political education to develop an anarchist understanding, through those social movements, through those independent trade unions into the community, so that we can insert anarchism not only in terms of the solidarity and social work that we do, but we can insert anarchism into those communities and those organizations, brought to those communities and those organizations by activists who understand the the culture, language. Who understand the operation and the essence of living in those communities. So that’s generally some of the work that we do.

Motmakt:: Thank you very much for talking to me Warren!

Warren: Thank you Adrien!

[Read more…]

Photo: BMC comrade speaking at Gothenberg protests, Sweden, 2001

The photo below recently surfaced at Wikipedia, where it was incorrectly identified as the image of a speaker from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF, later ZAC Front) speaking in 2005. In fact, the speaker is comrade AN, from the Bikisha Media Collective (BMC), speaking in 2001 at the Gothenberg anti-EU protests. More on the BMC in those events can be found here.


Philip Mzamani Nyalungu: “There’s no Truth”

Found here and dated 9 March 2010

“There’s no truth” by Philip Nyalungu

Elias Motsoaledi is one of the informal settlements. That started mushrooming prior the 1st 1994 democratic elections. Mostly named after the popular political leaders who fought against apartheid. Under Freedom Charter and the ANC manifesto’s auspices. That loudly stated “proper houses with electricity and water for all”.

Until this day nothing has come along from all these promises. The politicians’ only come back when the elections are around the corner. To do the same promises over and over again and forgetting about everyone, thereafter. Meaning in the eyes of these politicians we are their objects. That they use to get into power not as fellow human beings.

Move to occupy unused land. Especially here in Johannesburg was a respond after the then apartheid regime. In the 70’s denying migrant labors subsidized houses. By shifting the responsibility to the banks. Resulting in warren of backyard shacks and overcrowding. Since the banks were in favor of the up coming black middle classes. Because this is where profit was guaranteed through the bonds.

It is now 18 years since the people started to stay in Motsoaledi. In the early years people had to stay awake all night. Initially under the bias eye of the then armed state forces to the IFP faction. Fortunately in this community over 2/3rd of the population are ANC supporters and members and it’s not in the way with hostels. Where IFP members were in large numbers.

This community became a fiefdom to the bloodthirsty loose ANC-SANCO faction that was on daily orgies. In maintaining this habit. They extort money, rape women and dispossess the same people they purport to protect. Even with the new government into power. They would continue with their heinous deeds.

Earlier residents from time to time they recall those dreadful days. “During so and so meaning the ring leader/s, police wouldn’t dare come in this community” they said. As they carry on denouncing how these guys inflicted endless torture in their lives. “You who came after all these rampages are lucky especially the agitators. Your lives could have been at stake and cut-short long time ago”, ruefully looking at you…

Although one of the notorious ring leader was gunned down in the daylight. During the mass meeting everyone watching. Ironically the very ringleader was about to butcher one of his enemies. And he was the one who called the meeting to gather the support from the community. Unexpectedly the targeted enemy’s assassins ambushed him from behind.

Everyone in the community was relieved from fearing their lives. “That was the only time the police started to come to the community” they sigh…Probably just a couple is behind bars. But the fact that they were not alone remains hanging above people’s heads, especially the women. Even though these remnants started to live a normal lives.

The questions remained. Where was the army *if* the SAPS couldn’t enter this community to save the lives of the poor innocent people?

This morbid gloomy cloud is still hanging above this community!!!

Philip Mzamani Nyalungu: “Motsoaledi Concerned Residents”

Found here and dated 9 March 2010

“Motsoaledi Concerned Residents” by Philip Nyalungu

This structure was formed sometimes around 2005 amid overwhelming support from the community. After the local South African National Civil Organization (SANCO) has consistently suppressed anyone to question the government and ruling party. The people have realized that “they need an alternative”. Because the politicians and through their political parties consistently exploit people’s emotions. By making empty promises to win the votes. The meaning to life is nothing else but basic services. In our community there’s nothing like basic services. They take decisions in our expenses without our consent. Instead of building us houses. They are busy with malls while we are dying. It is as if we don’t belong in this planet and they are doing us a great favour. To at least allow us just stay. We are like refugees in our own country.

Undoubtedly this angry came after the present government failed to deliver basic services. With no electricity, sanitation and infrastructures. Our children have no recreational-resource facilities. It is 15 years since the ANC democratic government came in power. This has resulted in much destruction: Such as teenage pregnancy, violence, crime, illiteracy, diseases, unemployment and subsequently deaths.We all know that “the future is determined by the availability of resources”. That is why we voted in 1994/1999 and 2004 because we were promised all this things.

Where are we today? We are children, parents, grandparents and dead! All cramped in pain and dark! We all know and told the Apartheid government was the cause of our problems. We are staying in the squatter camps. It is out of question to compromise our lives for so long. After the highest law of the country (constitution) stated clear that “everyone has right to life”. The right to have a house of your own built where you are.Under this global economy, globalisation and global power. It is very important to have independent community structures like MCR. Which are within and controlled by the people. Making sure every need to the community is attended. Since the government only protects and advance the interest of the rich in our expenses. Giving a go-ahead to anyone who is thirsty for our blood. Equalling our lives to that of a life stock and poultry. As results many of our people are dying unnecessarily and no action is taken to prevent such.

Through these structures we can have an impartial understanding about our immediate environment. This will bring confidence within us to protect ourselves and advance our culture. Then we can come closer to challenge the enemy of our lives. Our enemy is not the Zulu, Xhosa, Shangani or Zimbabweans. It is the multi-national corporations and structures that protect and advance their interests. These corporations are responsible for civil wars across the continent and the world.

Lately the ANC leaders have decided to recall president Mbeki. With an impression that, “it is in the interest of the poor and majority of South Africa”. To a big surprise they keep on reminding the world that “the policies implemented under Mandela-Mbeki’s orders will never change”.This is a daily light brutal attack on the poor and majority of this country!! We are here suffering today because of the very same policies. It is very clear the ANC leadership is in this mess. Because they never had interest saving the people and they will never have. Always it’s only to their personal benefit.

Apartheid debt, Gear, Privatisation, Egoli 2002, Gautrain, 2010 and Asgisa. These are policies causing all problems in our country. They are implemented by the people who manage structures that protects and advance the interest of the rich and few. The political parties in the government have said nothing about the effects on the poor and majority of the country. Instead they send the police to arrest, shoot, and beat and kill us when we demonstrate. Within the 14 years the ANC in power. The ANC in parliament and their families and friends became very-very rich. While we on the ground who voted them into power have to suffer at all cost. In this regard the ANC under Mandela/ Mbeki/ Monthlante/Zuma/Malema is always the same ANC.

This battle is for all of us in the community. Until we come together and face this common goal. Nothing is going to happen without confronting and exposing the enemy. Our lives have been destroyed for so long. It was apartheid today is the government we voted in power. MCR is the community structure. Willing to work together with various community structures in the immediate community, across the country and globally.These structures must not compromise the lives of poor people to the rich. Since the global economy is destroying every poor people in the world. Through corrupt government officials and leaders from political parties. Every day has a meaning: To wait it simply means many death before our last breathe. It is even worse because they are going to relocate and divide people. So they can build more shopping malls and divisive residential and apartment to attract the middle class and rich people.

Obituary (2): Hamba kahle comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)

Hamba kahle comrade Bobo Makhoba (1975-2016)
BY: Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF

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!
Long live the fighting spirit of c’de Bobo, long live!

IMAGE: Bobo Makhoba at the Founding Congress of the ZACF, Johannesburg, 1 May 2003

IMAGE: C’de Bobo (with flag) at the “Reclaim June 16” demonstration in Soweto, 2009