Since 2005, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) has led a national movement of people living in informal settlements to advance the needs, interests, and aspirations of poor and dispossessed South Africans. The demands of the shack dwellers are land, housing, autonomy and dignity, and for nearly two decades they have fought for these fundamental rights and built an organization of over 50,000 members in nearly 50 branches across South Africa. AbM stands as a leading international example of the poor organizing the poor for revolutionary change and the leaders of the University of the Poor have learned a great deal from AbM over the years.
When the poor organize and threaten the profits and power of the wealthy, repression always follows. AbM has been the target of a relentless campaign of state-led abuse and violence, from constant surveillance, policing, and evictions to the outright assassination of their leaders. The latest killing of Nokuthula Mabaso in AbM’s eKhenana commune in Durban is only the latest devastating example. The University of the Poor stands in steadfast solidarity with the leaders of AbM and continues to take great inspiration and strength from their example as we build a movement of the poor and dispossessed in the United States.
The video below, published by New Frame in South Africa and produced by Dara Kell, exposes the murder of Ayanda Ngila on March 8, 2022, and shows the deep commitment of AbM’s leaders and membership to continue to organize and fight in the face of these brutal attacks.