Afrika Kontakt: større, stærkere og mere dynamisk

I det forgangne år har Afrika Kontakt formået at skabe en større, stærkere, og mere dynamisk organisation, der bedre kan støtte lokale sociale bevægelsers kamp for social og politisk retfærdighed i Afrika.

”Afrika Kontakt er stærkere end for et år siden, blandt andet fordi vi har fået nye flotte lokaler, der giver mere plads til at både vores gamle aktivister og de mange nye medlemmer, og fordi vi har fået en stærk kampagnegruppe, der involverer hele organisationen og vores partnere. Vi har også fået styrket vores kontaktflade i folketinget, og har dermed bedre kunne markere os politisk”, siger Afrika Kontakts sekretariatsleder Morten Nielsen. Read more of this post

Swazi regime takes away students’ scholarships


A final draft for a new scholarship policy that is meant to “formalise and strengthen cost-sharing mechanisms in the provision of scholarships” of Swaziland’s tertiary education was endorsed by Swaziland’s parliament yesterday.The euphemistic wording of the policy is code for privatisation and the the removing of scholarships, and thereby punishing the students for vocally opposing the government, however.

This means that the ordinary Swazis will have to pay for his or her tuition fees. They will be no personal and meal allowances for the current students in tertiary institutions”, said National Organising Secretary of The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), Maxwell Dlamini, who called for protest against the policy. Read more of this post

Human Rights – an account from the democracy movement in Swaziland

He is a fast speaker, and is always short of cash. “Why is this door locked?” – “What is this guy doing?”  – “Why are these chickens not in the garage?”. He is a Human Rights lawyer and believes that he should therefore be entitled to a car. “We are in the struggle, but we need not be poor!”

But Thulani Maseko is not rich – and “the struggle” has definitely lasted too long, he believes. So he is short of cash. At the maternity clinic he complains about the price of the bed that his wife is confined to during her hospitalization, and while we are discussing the price of antibiotics her water breaks.

The newborn girl is in an incubator, which is also expensive. “You see doctor, I don’t have this kind of money” – “What are we talking about. Just give me a rough figure so we know – how much is it?” The doctor has no idea what this costs so Thulani has to ask the receptionist. Read more of this post

The Secretary General – an account from the democracy movement in Swaziland

It is certainly not a dream come true, having to meet the king. Definitely not a privilege, though everyone else would think so. The last time he did so, he was more or less on his knees and in the middle of putting his case to King Mswati, when he king suddenly interrupted him as asked, ”excuse me, but who are you?”It would have been even worse to have been asked to become an MP in Swaziland’s parliament, however. Refusing such an “honour” is not an option!

When you visit Vincent Ncongwane, General Secretary for Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFL), you have to first pass through a back yard, a mechanic and a hair dressers shop. Read more of this post

Mario Masuku arrested in Swaziland

PUDEMO-leader, Mario Masuku, was arrested and charged with terrorism after having mentioned the name of PUDEMO during a speech at Sipho Jele’s funeral yesterday, May 22.

As I left, we found a roadblock along the way and they just picked me up from the vehicle and I was shoved into the back of the police van and taken to Malkerns police station … I was then charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act because I mentioned the name of the People’s United Democratic Movement, Pudemo, and according to the law that was an offense”, Masuku told Agence France-Press. Read more of this post

Danish NGO asks South Africa and the EU to pressurize and isolate Swaziland

In a press statement, Danish solidarity and activist organisation, Africa Contact, describes the regime in Swaziland as “brutal” in connection with the death in detention of Pudemo activist Sipho Jele and the disappearance of Swaziland National Union of Students leader Pius Vilakati, the latter who is believed to have been abducted by police. In letters to the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, as well as to the two Delegations of the European Union to the Kingdom of Swaziland in Mbabane and Lesotho, respectively, the organisation further urges South Africa and the EU to pressurize and isolate the Swazi regime in response to its increasingly brutal human rights violations. Read more of this post

Swazi police disrupt funeral of Sipho Jele

The funeral of Sipho Jele, the Pudemo activist who died in custody at the hands of Swazi police, was yesterday (16 May) disrupted by Swazi police. The more than 300 police officers in riot gear that were present at the funeral not only arrested and detained at least three of the over 500 peaceful mourners, but also “forcefully took away everything which bore PUDEMO colours and stripped the cloth which was used as a cover to the casket of the coffin”, according to  sources within the democracy movement in Swaziland that I have been in contact with. The police also smashed pictures of the deceased with the inscription “Rest in Peace Comrade Sipho Jele”, that were hanging in the tent where the service was being held. Read more of this post

Scandinavian firms exploit Western Saharan resources

Many companies are taking advantage of the Moroccan control of Western Saharan resources, directly contravening international law in the process. These resources include Western Sahara’s fishing grounds, phosphate reserves, vegetables, solar power and oil. At the same time campaigners for Western Sahara’s liberation accuse the international community of doing too little to stop the human rights violations and illegal trade in goods produced in Western Sahara, and the companies for failing to listen to recommendations not to operate in Western Sahara from the liberation movement in Western Sahara, the Polisario Front, amongst others. Read more of this post

Swazi regime under pressure in the case of Sipho Jele

There have been many developments during the week that has passed since Sipho Jele died in police custody in Swaziland. Most significant is the fact that the Swazi regime has been pressured into holding an inquest into Sipho Jele’s death, and according to Bongani Masuku of Cosatu, Pudemo has also been able to secure legal assistance for Sipho Jele’s family. The lawyer has already made possible the identification of Sipho Jele’s body by his family last Saturday as well as ensuring that an foreign independent pathologist performs the autopsy, although the date for the autopsy has not yet been set. Read more of this post

Pudemo-member murdered by Swazi police

According to sources in Swaziland, a member of the illegal party the People’s United Democratic Movement, Sipho Jele, has died in police custody. Sipho Jele was arrested in Manzini on May-day, allegedly for having worn a Pudemo t-shirt. The police went on to ransack his home in search of his Pudemo membership card, after which he was taken into custody. The following day, police told Sipho’s grandmother that he had committed suicide, after which they forced Sipho’s family to bury him – probably to avoid a potentially revealing autopsy. Read more of this post