South Africa

South Africa: BDS campaign declare success in Woolsworth boycott

Activists and organisers from the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Campaign in South Africa have announced an end to the two year long #BoycottWoolworths campaign. The #BoycottWoolworths campaign was launched in August 2014 by a wide cross section of groups, and called for the complete boycott of Woolworths due to its Israeli trade relations. The organisers believe the campaign has achieved several goals, and have announced the end of the blanket boycott of Woolworths to broaden the campaign to now target all Israeli products in any store in South Africa.

Mining, gender and militarism in Africa

Samantha Hargreaves from WoMin - an African gender and extractives alliance - speaks to Andrew Dey from WRI about the links between gender, extractive industries and militarism in Africa, and what this new network is doing to counter it.

Tell us about your work – what is Womin, when did you form, and who makes up your network? What are the critical issues you are working on?

Samantha: WoMin was launched in October 2013. We work with about 50 allied organisations in fourteen countries across Southern, East and West Africa. Most partners are working on issues of land, natural resources, extractive industries, environmental and climate justice and women’s rights. Our work with women rights organisations has generally been challenged by their focus to more 'traditional' gender issues like violence against women, women and girl child education and health, with a small number working on the terrain of environment, land and other economic justice questions.

WoMin Southern African women and coal exchange. Photo: Heidi AugestadWoMin Southern African women and coal exchange. Photo: Heidi Augestad

Tear gas by remote control: report

Tear gas by remote controlTear gas by remote controlA new report exploring the development of the use of remote control technology to deliver tear gas and other 'riot control agents' (RCAs) has been released by the Remote Control Project, the Omega Foundation and the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project.

Richard's Story

Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

Richard Steele, from South Africa, was imprisoned three times in the 1980s for his anti-apartheid activism. During that decade he was caretaker of Phoenix Settlement, Gandhi’s original ashram outside Durban, then worked for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, also based in Durban. He was an activist in the End Conscription Campaign anddescribes this experience and his experience as a white man conscientiously objecting to the regime of apartheid.

On the 25th of February 1980 I was sentenced by a military court in Pretoria to 12 months in military prison for refusing to submit to compulsory military service. I was 23 years old, and had just finished a BA degree in Psychology and English, and a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of Cape Town.

SOUTH AFRICA: Conscription could return

There are reports that conscription could return to South Africa in 2016 – there has been no conscription in the country since 1994, when the first multi-racial elections took place. According to 'City Press', plans are being finalised for a youth programme that would see young people over the age of 18 sent for military training. According to the website BusinessTech, the ANC-led South African government has claimed that the programme is designed to “combat youth unemployment, instill discipline, patriotism and volunteerism.”

For more information, see News24.com, 'The SA Army wants you(th)', July 2015: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/The-SA-army-wants-youth-20150725

Businesstech.co.za, 'Army conscription may return to South Africa: report', July 2015, http://businesstech.co.za/news/general/94301/army-conscription-may-return-in-south-africa-report/

South Africa - Borders, State Militarism and Xenophobia

Christopher McMichael

The South African government’s official policy on borders and immigration is coached in the language of human rights and opening up colonial era boundaries in Africa. But the reality is more authoritarian and brutal – economic migrants and asylum seekers, particularly from other African countries, are regular targets for violent harassment by the police, are illegally denied access to basic services like hospitals or sent to detention facilities. State officials are heavily invested in rhetoric about border security and constantly make ominous statements about foreign threats to the South African homeland, from transnational drug smuggling to rhino poaching. Of course, this is not novel or particular to South Africa. States have historically used physical borders and violence to delineate outsiders from citizens, while also combining military operations outside their territory with domestic policing. This is becoming even more apparent with the modern wars on drugs and terror, in which wars and operations abroad are combined with the extension of surveillance and restrictions on civil liberties. <--break- />

Our police are militarized and that needs to be addressed

Laura Pollecutt

During the years of apartheid, discussions were ongoing both inside and outside the country, about how state security institutions would function in a post-apartheid democratic state. These discussions intensified in the dying years of apartheid.

The Kwerekwere are stealing our jobs! Instead, stop the wars…

Terry Crawford-Browne

Terry Crawford-Browne is a former international banker who became a peace activist during the 1980s. He lives in Cape Town.

Renewed xenophobic violence in South Africa has appalled the world. The violence is directed at black African refugees, not white beneficiaries of the past apartheid era, yet reminiscent of the apartheid era, the response of a bewildered government is to send the army into affected townships, rather than address the root causes of massive migrations in Africa.

The Guardian newspaper reported in England “with every outbreak of xenophobic violence, the refrain is the same: ‘the kwerekwere (foreigners) are stealing our jobs. Shops are torched. Streets are barricaded... Mobs hound Somalis, Mozambicans, Zimbabweans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis from their homes and businesses.”i

War profiteer of the month: Providence Equity Partners

Providence Equity Partners is a global private equity firm focused on media, communications, education and information investments. Providence Equity Partners have a history of profiteering from war, including owning the company U.S.Investigation Services, which trained the violent and secretive 'Emergency Response Unit', an Iraqi paramilitary security organisation.

New Resistance Project murals

Two new projects featuring a broken AK-47 (based on WRI's famous broken rifle logo), have been created by artist Ralph Ziman in Los Angeles and Cape Town. The mural in Los Angeles featured 408 names of victims of gun violence, while the Cape Town piece was painted in the middle of the Manenberg district, an area of Cape Town that has endured years of gang violence.

For photos and other information see the Resistance Project's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Resistance-Project

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