14 November 2013
Venue: Fogg Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary, Mile End Campus
The screening of the award-winning film Dear Mandela will be followed by a discussion led by S’bu Zikode, founder of the South African Shack Dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Dear Mandela traces the struggle of three South Africans whose shanty town is threatened with mass eviction. The film deals with the lost hope of Mandela’s promises for a better future for all South Africans, and the resistance being met by the modern South African state when targeting communities already at the periphery of South African society for commercial and financial gain.
“We are all agreed that there is a serious crisis in our country. We are being forced off our land and out of our cities. For too long, we have been subject to evictions from our homes. For too long, the promise of housing has been downgraded to forced removal to a transit camp. These transit camps are more like prisons.”
– Abahlali baseMjondolo statement of demands, March 2011
• WINNER - GRAND JURY PRIZE, Brooklyn Film Festival
• WINNER - BEST DOCUMENTARY, Brooklyn Film Festival
• WINNER - BEST SOUTH AFRICAN DOCUMENTARY, Durban Int. Film Festival
• WINNER - GOLDEN BUTTERFLY, Movies That Matter Festival
• WINNER - BEST DOCUMENTARY, Montreal International Black Film Festival
S’bu Zikode is the founding president of the South African Shack Dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo. As a result of his activism in opposing forced evictions, including those surrounding the 2010 football World Cup held in South Africa, S’bu has lost his job, been prevented by the police from speaking on television, and been arrested and tortured by the South African police forces.
In September 2009, the shack settlement where S’bu and his family lived was attacked by a mob reportedly affiliated with the governing African National Congress. Violence continued for days. S’bu's home was destroyed during the violence and he and his family fled. S’bu went underground for some months because he feared for his life. After coming out of hiding S’bu successfully sued the South African Minister of Police for violence against his person.