On Thursday, 12th May 2022, we will be honouring and respecting our leader Nokuthula Mabaso. She was a mother and militant who served the poor and our struggle for land and dignity with courage and humility. She was a brave woman who was instrumental in the establishment of the eKhenana occupation that has ensured that more than 100 families have a place they can call home.
Nokuthula did not only become one of the leaders who led the establishment of the occupation she also was a key figure in the development of the occupation into a commune, and its projects. She played an important role in the communal garden, the poultry project, the communal kitchen and the communal shop. These communal projects have ensured that no family goes to sleep without food and that no child goes to school on an empty stomach.
Nokuthula understood what Ubuhlali means. She understood what socialism is all about. She understood socialism as a living politics, as a collective practice, as something that is built from below. She knew the risks that she was taking as a leader in the commune, and was prepared to die for her principles, her community and her comrades.
Her ‘crime’ is that she was part of the strong poor, the poor who work to build an autonomous politics from below, the poor who insist that the full and equal recognition of our dignity is non-negotiable, the poor who struggle to occupy land, produce food and build democracy and community from below.
She was assassinated in front of her children.
Nokuthula was humble, softly spoken and peaceful. She always played a role of leadership whenever there were issues and differences in the community. The betterment of the community was at the centre of her heart. She loved children and always ensured that they could eat in the communal kitchen that she established. No child went hungry in eKhenana.
She will be laid to rest at her home in Esidumbini (25 km from Othongathi, north of Durban) on Saturday, 14th May 2022. She will be brought to her final peace with honour and dignity, the dignity that this society denied her while she was alive, a dignity that she fought for until her last moments.
Nokuthula will join the roll of honour of all those who have fallen in our movement – Nqobile Nzuza, Thuli Ndlovu, Nkululeko Gwala, Sifiso Ngcobo, Ayanda Ngila and many others. Her name will live in our struggle, and in new songs, new occupations and new communal projects.
We know that the minister of police will not take the killing of Nokuthula and Ayanda Ngila seriously because he serves the interests of the ANC before those of the country. He has vested interests in the ANC in KwaZulu Natal and will not arrest members of the ANC. It is clear and in the open that the eKhenana Commune has been under constant attack from the Ngubane family, and that the municipality, the KwaKito (Cato Manor) police and the prosecuting authority have all been complicit with the severe repression of the commune.
Nokuthula was assassinated on the 5th May 2022 at around 7:30 pm. It has been days since her assassination. She is not a high-profile person and therefore there has been no undertaking from the police or the government to investigating her case with speed. She is a shack dweller who comes from a poor family. Her life does not count in the eyes of the state. This must change and it must change now.
We express our full solidarity with the family of Hillary Gardee and offer all our compassion. We ask the Minister of police to use the same energy and commitment to find the killers of Nokuthula that was used to find those who took the life of Hillary.
Our politics is centred around the commitment to make sure that every life counts as a human life, that the humanity of all is recognised.
We will not rest until those who have taken the life of an innocent person are brought to book.
We thank all those who have expressed solidarity. It is deeply appreciated. Every act of solidarity matters.
All progressive organisations and individuals need to work together to ensure that the assassination of activists stops. We cannot go on like this. It cannot be normal that if you are poor and black and you dare to stand up for your dignity, and the dignity of others, you can be assassinated with impunity. It has to stop.
Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
This press statement was released by Abahlali baseMjondolo on 11 May 2022.The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Karibu! Online or Khanya College.