Heres another image from way back in the past......... Nelson Mandela addressing a crowd in Ladysmith.......... it's an image of Mandela...... but one that always symbolized........ for me...... the hopes of the 'Rainbow Nation' that is South Africa...... I shot this in the run up to Mandela's election as the first President of the New South Africa. This picture has been used really extensively.....all over the place in Western Countries..... but also in South Africa by the South African Council of Churches in leaflets and posters advocating unity and tolerance in the 'Rainbow Nation' ....... I was always very happy that my picture was used in this context.......... This was back in a very much more optimistic time for SA.........
Today my brother-in-law ..... who lives in Jo'berg..... and is a veteran of the struggle against Apartheid..... is once again organizing to try and bring decency and justice in South Africa.......... this time helping to organize a march against xenophobia.......... to try and organize to bring an end to the terrible violence and fear that has led 30,000 people to flee the mobs that have attacked foreigners ...... The foreigners are mostly ordinary Africans from other nearby countries, many, many of them are from Zimbabwe......... people who have escaped absolute poverty, starvation and political oppression at home seeking a better life and safety in SA.........
The poorest people in SA feel the pressure of competing for scarce recourses with the new arrivals and have turned on them....... It's a very sad situation........... which SA's government seems to have allowed to develop right up to absolute boiling point without proper counter measures........ I myself have been so disappointed that for a very long time it has done precisely nothing to bring any pressure to restore democracy in Zimbabwe.
In my view it has become imperative the SA government act to protect the foreigners inside their own borders and take steps to bring about a return to democracy across their border in Zimbabwe.
I saw this attached message below sent out by my brother-inlaw to all his friends and contacts........ I felt moved to send them all a tiny message of solidarity ..........
"Good Luck Everyone!! Stand together like in the past......together for what is right ...... be strong but be careful !!
Cheers Jez Coulson XXX
An immigrant in a foreign land
PS..........This image above was made using 35mm fujichrome 100 ASA and the mighty Nikon F4's with the SB24 Nikon flash unit .............. Cheers Jez XX
Since planning for a march against xenophobia was announced by the Social Movements Indaba (SMI) last week, a number of other concerned organisations and individuals have joined the initiative to help demonstrate a united force in the city of Johannesburg, organised in struggle against the terror and fear that have been sown amongst all of us – South African and non-South African – over the last few weeks. A loose coalition - of organisations affiliated to the SMI; refugee and immigrant communities and organisations from the inner city, Hillbrow and Yeoville; trade unions; groups of artists; and so on - has emerged to reclaim the spaces of our city and townships from the hatred, anger, and violence that have come to occupy them.
On Saturday, the 24th of May, this coalition will be marching, at 9am, from the
Pieter Roos Park in Hillbrow (cnr Queens & Empire rds) through Hillbrow and the inner city, past the Gauteng legislature, to the library gardens.
We will deliver a memorandum to government to demand that it takes responsibility for the xenophobia that has resulted in the current state of emergency in Gauteng, and we will hand over a message of solidarity and support to our fellow African brothers and sisters, represented by various organisations and groups.
Hillbrow and the inner city are places in which a large number of immigrants reside. They have also been the sites of much of the violent xenophobia experienced over the last few weeks. We believe that by marching through these areas we will be reclaiming them as spaces in which all of us are able to live free from the threat of xenophobic harassment, and that we will be showing our solidarity and support for those who have been hurt and humiliated in this period. When a minority of people has sown fear and terror amongst all of us in such a manner that division and hatred are easily encouraged and entrenched, we believe that this is even more important.
A cultural programme will follow the march on Saturday, at the library gardens. A programme of events beyond Saturday is also unfolding, and the coalition seems set to continue for some time to come. We believe that it is important to build such a coalition to ensure that the struggle against xenophobia continues, and, that we understand that xenophobia is a manifestation of the legitimate frustrations of the poor and working class in a capitalist society designed to pit one oppressed and exploited group against another. Through the coalition, we hope to bring our different struggles together as we understand their common source in the capitalist system, and direct our anger at this source.
For further information &/or interviews about the march or the coalition, contact:
Silumko Radebe 0731737268 or Makoma Lekalakala 082 682 9177
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Johannesburg, Black Sash, Amnesty International (South Africa), Action Aid International, Social Movements Indaba, Anti-Privatisation Forum, Jubilee South Africa, Imbawula Trust, Sounds of Edutainment, Umzabalazo we Jubilee, Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, Inner City Resource Centre, Kliptown Concerned Residents, Khanya College, Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg), Palestinian Solidarity Committee, Golden Triangle Crisis Committee, Samancor Retrenched Workers Crisis Committee, African Renaissance Civic Movement, Group of Refugees Without Voice, Pacifique Sukisa Foundation, Somali Association of South Africa (SASA), NEHAWU Johannesburg, Keep Left, Yeoville Stakeholders Forum, Ethiopian Community of South Africa (ECSA), Alternative Media Productions, Masibambane Unemployment Project, General Industrial Workers Union of SA (GIWUSA) "
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