Nye protester mod Swazilands enevældige konge

Tusinder af mennesker protesterede onsdag, torsdag, og i dag imod Swazilands enevældige konge over hele Swaziland, i en demonstration arrangeret af landets fagbevægelse. ”Tusinder af arbejdere er samlet i fem byer rundt omkring i landet for at protestere imod Swazilands udemokratiske styre”, udtalte Fundizwi Skhondze fra Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions forleden til South African Press Association.

Demonstranterne protesterede imod manglende demokrati i landet, hvor kongen regerer enevældigt, imod den store mangel på medicin i et land med over 40% Hiv-smittede, og over landets økonomiske krise, der betyder store nedskæringer på sociale ydelser og offentlige lønninger, imens landets kongefamilie og politikere giver sig selv en lønforhøjelse. Read more of this post

Swazi regime stalls student leader’s court case

Is the Swazi government, ruled by absolute monarch Mswati III, trying to bleed student leader Maxwell Dlamini and his lawyers dry financially in the court case against him? Given the long delay of the court case, where he and fellow accused Musa Ngubeni are accused of being in possession of explosives during the North African-inspired Swazi uprising in April, this seems to be the case.

No matter what the reasons for the delay in Maxwell’s and Musa’s case, it is proving a financial problem for the two accused as well as their legal team, however, who are working pro bono. And there is also the obvious inconvenience of being imprisoned in a system that often tortures and manhandles its detainees and political prisoners, as happened to Maxwell Dlamini before the present court in order to force him to sign a prepared confession. Read more of this post

Punk: the power of music

When second wave punk-band, the Exploited, one of punk rock’s most loud and ferocious bands, sang “punk’s not dead” on Top of the Pops in the early eighties, punk indeed seemed dead and gone – both musically and as an ideal.

Many of the original punk bands had either split or had become commercialized. And the ones that hadn’t seemed rather stale and dishonest in their insistence on retaining a ‘hollier than thou,’ DIY, inverted snobbism, self-conscious pose.

The youth fashion and music of the New Romantic wave of pop music, excessive glamour and make-up, escapism and self-indulgence was slowly but surely taking over from punk – although youth culture and sub-cultures, like all culture, is obviously porous and interdependent.

But that punk should be dead is only true if punk is seen in a generalised and superficial way. Read more of this post

School principals in Swaziland threaten school closures as protest against government

School principals in Swaziland, a small absolute monarchy in Southern Africa with one million inhabitants, threaten to close down the country’s schools indefinitely on Monday. The purpose of these closures is to protest the recent and unannounced cut-backs on Swaziland’s schools.

The principals are particularly angry at the Swazi government’s non-payment of the fees for Swaziland’s over 100.000 Aids-orphans and vulnerable children who subsequently cannot afford to attend school, and at the proposed salary cuts for school employees. Swaziland’s many thousand Aids-orphans are the result of a HIV-epidemic that has seen over 30% of its adult population infected. Read more of this post

FC Copenhagen: From pipe dream to European success

Today FC Copenhagen is without doubt the most successful club in Denmark, arguably the most prestigious club in Scandinavia, has a dedicated and plentiful fan base, and is a budding force in European football.

Given the club’s recent success, winning three championships on the trot – the latest one 26 points ahead of second placed OB and 30 ahead of rivals Brøndby – and qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages, many people in Denmark and elsewhere see their success as rather straightforward and inevitable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more of this post

Swazi political prisoner Maxwell Dlamini suffers stroke, denied treatment

Student leader and Swazi political prisoner, Maxwell Dlamini, has suffered what his family described as a possible mild stroke yesterday but was apparently denied proper treatment.

“Maxwell asked for permission to seek medical assistance for the condition he is in now. He said he felt pain in his left shoulder, after which he could not use the lower part of his left arm. He wants to get medical help outside prison because he does not believe he will receive proper medical attention there. We want to take him to a private doctor to ensure that our son gets satisfactory medical attention. We will speak to our lawyer to see how we can do that,” Maxwell’s father, Nimrod Dlamini, told The Times of Swaziland after having visited his son yesterday. Read more of this post

Swaziland: uprising in the slip-stream of North Africa

A new, well-educated generation of Swazis have been inspired by the uprisings in North Africa, as well as compelled by their own increasingly desperate situation of mass-unemployment and poverty, to try and replace the undemocratic and corrupt absolute monarchy that is Swaziland with a democratic and fair system.

The know-how and tactics of these youths, combined with the mass mobilisation for democracy and socio-economic justice that has taken place for decades in Swaziland, that together comprised the campaign or uprising on April 12-15, appears to be a significant breakthrough. It may not have brought about immediate democratisation but it is surely “the beginning of the end,” as a poster held by a demonstrator on April 12 proclaimed. Read more of this post

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