Dear Comrades and Friends
The theme of the last edition of the Khanya Journal for 2012 is Sustaining Resistance. In this edition we also reflect on ‘Marikana’, a momentus event in the history of democratic South Africa. On 16 August 2012 the South African Police Services killed 34 mine workers. The mineworkers, rock-drillers, embarked on a labour dispute with their employer, Lonmin, at the platinum mine in Marikana, in Rustenburg, in the North West province. While the full meaning of Marikana is yet to be revealed, South Africa will never be the same again. On the one hand Marikana raises questions about the nature of democracy and the particular form of capitalist accumulation in South Africa, the nature of the ruling party and police brutality, amongst others. On the other hand Marikana raises key issues for movement building and for sustaining resistance, cadre building and potential changes in the consciousness of the masses of working people, and fissions and opportunities for rebuilding a progressive labour movement and the social justice movement as a whole.
The Khanya Journal believes that Marikana is a watershed moment in post apartheid South Africa. This edition opens with the perspectives of the Khanya Journal Collective, the Editorial Statement on Marikana. The first section of the Journal is on the Khanya Winter School 2012. The theme of the 14th annual Khanya Winter School was on ‘Sustaining Resistance’, held at the House of Movements in Johannesburg from 29 July to 3 August. The school has undergone important changes as Khanya College has tried to reflect and respond to the needs of movement building and what this means for developing a new cadre for the social justice movement. The ‘new concept’ for the School, its popular education methodology, debates and challenges, is included in Maria Van Driel’s overview report of the school. This is followed by an article on the participants review of the Winter School, three months after the school, also written by Van Driel. An important solidarity feature of the Winter School is the community based accommodation, and this is reviewed in an article by Juliet Kabe. The Summary of the winter school 2012 Activities and the List of Organisations that attended the School, and is included in the Attachments.
The focus then shifts to movement building and the Activist School held in Sweden in November 2012. This initiative is between the solidarity partners, Afrikagrupperna (Africa Groups of Sweden), and Khanya College. This article is written by Anna Gunterberg. Maria Van Driel also reflects on the School in Sweden as a member of the delegation of activists from Southern Africa. The second section is on the Jozi Book Fair (JBF) and the Conference on Literacy. The JBF is part of Khanya’s movement building work, contesting the public domain as it orientes to building a diverse culture of reading and writing. The Overview of the Jozi Book Fair and Conference on Literacy report provides an account of both events. The theme of the JBF 2012 and the Conference was on ‘Literacy: reading the word and the world’. A few of the papers delivered at the Conference are included in this edition. The Opening Address to the Conference by Professor John Aitchison on ‘Where are we now with literacy in South Africa’ gives a critical account of the crisis of literacy, especially among young adults in this country. This is followed Sharon Groenmeyer’s discussion on ‘Literacy and women in South Africa’. Eva Rampa, a librarian, discusses the challenges that face librarians.
The third section of the Journal focuses on the Marikana massacre and its implications. The first article in this section, ‘Massacre of our illusions’, is by Leonard Gentle, who argues that things will never be the same again, and that a new movement is emerging that needs to be supported. Mokesh Morar then discusses the meaning of Marikana from a theological perspective. Paul Stewart’s article provides a brief history of the rock-drillers and sheds light on their strategic location within mining production. In his article titled, ‘Marikana: the death rattle for COSATU, Ighsaan Schroeder, discusses the implications of the Marikana strike for the decline of the union federation. Vishwas Satgar’s article on ‘Marikana and the ANC-led Alliance’ argues that Marikana is facilitating the convergence of progressive forces to challenge the authoritarian and self destructing ANC-led Alliance. Elias Kodisang in his article, ‘We are All Marikana Campaign’, discusses the issues, responses and the campaign of the social movements. Against the backdrop of increasing police brutality, Kodisang also discusses the role of ‘Community tribunals’ historically.
In this edition we also honour the work and life of Neville Alexander, an activist intellectual by Nicolas Magnien of South Africa History Online. This is followed by the regular sections of the Journal. In the Documents of the social movements, we include the ‘Statement of the Movements on Marikana’ in response to the massacre. The Barometer of resistance we include a Barometer of Marikana by Bongani Bonyonyo and the usual Barometer of Resistance by Bongani Bonyonyo and Akona Zibonti.