CHWs Participates in the JBF2020 – Part 2


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FAJ Book Launch – A Leader Of A New Type and Activist Journalism In The Time Of Covid-19
On 29 November 2020 the Khanya Forum of Activist Journalists launched two books: ‘Activist Journalism In The Time Of COVID-19’ and ‘Tshepo Matoko – A Leader of A New Type’. For the launch of the first book (Activist Journalism in the Time of COVID-19) the panel had three activist journalists who discussed the articles they wrote as in part of the book and also about how life was for working class people during the first few month of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists were Andile Ngema who represented CHWs from Eden Park Clinic on the Eastrand of Gauteng, Susan Moraba, an environmental activist from Limpopo, and Mzwandile Maila, a long time activist and activist journalist. All of the panelists are journalists who are based in their community and all the articles in the book around about community issues and how COVID-19 has affected working class communities. The panelists also spoke about how our government has responded to the issues affecting CHWs who are the frontline workers and the communities.

The second book launch was ‘A Leader Of A New Type’. This book is a collection of all the writings by the late Forum secretary Tshepo Matoko. Tshepo Matoko was also a big part of the FAJ team and he wrote many articles that were published in Karibu! and the Forum News newsletters. Cde Oupa Lehulere discussed some of the writings in the book of Cde Tshepo Matoko and he also spoke about what kind of a leader was Cde Tshepo Matoko – one who was patient, who led from the front and was not scared to get his hands dirty or work hard, a leader who respected women and who was respected and loved by all.

Transformation & Movement Building Beyond COVID-19
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the Forum has been part of a group of organisations called COVID-19 Working Class Campaign (CWCC). The different organisations are focused on the working class in the areas of health, education, social justice organisation, community forums, and precarious worker forums/organisations. The organisations are as follows: Gauteng Community Health Care Forum, Khanya College, African Reclaimers Organisation, ILRIG, Casual Workers Advice Office, Keep Left, Simunye Workers Forum.

On 29 November the CWCC held a meeting to reflect and report on what has been happening during this period, and what each of the organisations have done during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting and also looked at what changes the government put in place to respond to coronavirus and what the effects have been in working class communities. Also present at the meeting were activists from invited organisations such as the Robertsham Tenants Association.

Many of the organisations said they had faced difficulties with mobilising and running their organisational duties during COVID-19. Many people have lost their jobs and lives yet the government hasn’t been giving proper assistance to those who need it.

The meeting also took reports about the media work that the campaign has been doing to raise awareness about the coronavirus and also to conscientise the working class about what the government has been doing. A report about the CWCC Feminist Caucus was made to give a brief overview of how and why the caucus was started and what it has done to raise the levels of consciousness of women activists as feminists in the CWCC, and also to begin to create a strategy for the CWCC to feminise all of its struggles.

The CWCC has agreed to meet to discuss further the way forward for the campaign and for the organisations and activists who are fighting for working class people.

This article was submitted on 3 December 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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