Africa Umoja, Apartheid and Refugees in South Africa. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v7n1 p0616
Africa Umoja is a 42-person musical theater ensemble from Johannesburg, the city also known as Egoli, the City of Light.
I did not see them when I was in Johannesburg; I did not know about them, and anyway, they were touring Korea.
June 14 2013, I met the promoter who is bringing Africa Umoja to the United
States for a 2-month tour during July and August 2013. He gave me a
postcard, you can see previous versions of it below. Gorgeous.
were in Manhattan, at a South African commemoration of the hundreds of
school children shot in the back by South African police on June 16
The kids had spontaneously risen up to protest the evil of
apartheid after a law was passed insisting that substantive subjects be
taught only in Afrikaaner, the language of the rulers who uprooted
Black South Africans, herded them into substandard homes and jobs and
made their lives hell.
Evil is evil, it does not go away, but is very good at changing shape.
America, far from South Africa, we all relaxed when apartheid was seen
to be over. In 1994 I saw photographs of the long lines of Black South
Africans waiting to vote for Madiba, Nelson Mandela, who was head of the
ANC political party, and who was elected President of South Africa.
June 14 2013, in Manhattan, elders who fought apartheid from outside
South Africa spoke about their struggles inside and outside South
Behind them were 3 pictures. One was a portrait of Nelson Mandela who is currently transitioning from this life in Pretoria.
In 2011 the Sahara Reporters media group hosted a celebration of the 93rd birthday of Madiba. Behind the elders was a poster from this event.
And the third was a poster declaring Occupy Nigeria, from January 2012 when the president of Nigeria increased the price of fuel to starving-to-death prices.
Then, in Nigeria in Jan 2012, the streets filled with protesters. The price came down after a few weeks, but not far enough. However, according to the World Bank, the economy in Nigeria is growing at 3 times the rate as South Africa. Nigeria, with all its problems, is over-taking South Africa.
South Africa is like a beautiful exotic flower that has just been picked, but away from its roots, it is dying. And it needs to live, get back its roots.
South Africa has an official rate of 25% unemployment, but the World Bank estimates that it is higher, around 40%. Those who claim South Africa as their home blame the high unemployment on refugees from Congo, Zimbabwe, Mali...
On Friday, after I heard the stories of the freedom fighters, later, I was told by an audience member who had been part of the anti-apartheid struggle that no-one can blame the South Africans for resenting the refugees.
Evil still lives in South Africa. The Afrikaaners who so successfully stole land, hope and lives from the Blacks they called the Bantus, they are still working their evil. Divide and conquer.
Black South Africans no longer are required to live in reservations, carry passports, speak Afrikaaner, and stay away from Afrikaaners except when they are serving them. And now federal laws, workers in private companies and in government agencies resent Black Africans who are asylum seekers, refugees from countries torn apart by Western greed that continues to rip the guts out of the ground and the air, and put guns in the hands of the bored, the disenfranchised and the unemployed.
How is 40% unemployment possible in South Africa, a country with constant power, piped water, an international pharmaceutical industry, riches in the air, on the land and sea and underground, and an exceptional health system in which the world's first heart was transplanted?
Evil has not gone away. It has twisted itself into envy. I have pictures of a functional sewage treatment plant which stopped working when apartheid ended after all its equipment was removed by Afrikaaners. To this day, raw sewage is dumped into an open plain and no-one has ever been prosecuted, or tried to fix it.
Police shot dead 34 miners who were protesting in 2012, 49 years after the Sharpeville Massacre in which police happily shot dead 69 men who marched peacefully to a police station to hand in their passports.
South Africa is very proud of having abolished the death penalty and adopting a new constitution in 1994.
But the constitution forgot to tell the police not to scam and kidnap Congolese refugees.
In May 2013 I traveled to Johannesburg and to the prison in Pretoria known as the Gates of Hell, because of an evil plot cooked up by men who described themselves in court as South African undercover policemen.
Congolese 20. Kabilagate. South African police scamming and kidnapping Congolese refugees. Who is next? click here
Kabilagate in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo click here
Excerpt from Al Jazeera, Sep 09, 2012
"Al Jazeera has learned that some of the South African miners who were
shot dead at the Marikana mine last month may have been trying to
At least 34 men died when police opened fire on striking workers at the platinum mine, 100km north of Johannesburg....
On August 16, police opened fire on a crowd of miners engaged in a strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana.
Video showed a densely packed crowd of miners, some armed with clubs
and machetes, approaching heavily armed police, who claimed self-defence
in the shooting."
Excerpt from article by J Brooks Spector, published in the Daily Maverick Jun 14, 2013.
"In 1976, I was a young American diplomat who had been assigned to Johannesburg the year before....
"The evening of 16 June, I sat at the kitchen table with the
family of a young black paediatric surgeon who worked at ...... the largest hospital serving Soweto..... he had been in an emergency operating theatre all afternoon, struggling to save
the lives of dozens of high school students who had been shot by the police –
and how so often those wounds had been in their backs.
"They had been running away as they were shot and then they were carried to the
hospital by convoys of passing motorists.....
"In my office the next day, I found it almost impossible to convince my dubious
American colleagues .......
"The prevailing mind-set was that, yes, the South African regime was often harsh
but it did not have the kind of police force that would simply start shooting
school children in the back."
South African geologist Trevor Mulaudzi stopped kids at midday and asked why they were not in school. They told him the toilets were unusable, so they were going home for the day. That started Trevor on a new career, traveling around the world, explaining that the first step out of poverty can be taken with clean toilets. The Clean Shop MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0531 click here