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South Africa: Inkosi Thulani Mjanyelwa finally laid to rest

Inkosi Thulani Mjanyelwa, the chief in Mpondoland who was brutally killed by a mob of people on 26 August, was finally laid to rest in Bizana on the 15 September. It was a long struggle to be able to bury him at his own homestead.

Submitted to Enough is Enough.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

There is bitter division in the area between those, many linked to the ANC, who support the international mining companies, and those who want the land to be held and managed by the people. Inkosi Mjanyelwa was clearly against those who want to give the land to the mining companies. He was committed to opposing the occupation of Mpondoland by an alliance between the ANC and the mining companies.

On 4 August this year King Mjanyelwa, and other traditional leaders in the Qhawukeni Traditional Authority, welcomed our movement to Mpondoland.  Thousands of our members in Durban are from Mpondoland, and for years there has been a vibrant and ongoing exchange of ideas and practices of struggle between Durban and Mpondoland. We have a growing membership in the towns and villages in Mpondoland.

At the meeting on 4 August King Mjanyelwa, and other traditional leaders, recognised Abahlali baseMjondolo as a powerful movement fighting for land, and insisting that land should be occupied and managed by the people, and should not be bought or sold. They gave their public blessing for our movement to organise in Mpondoland. 

Inkosi Mjanyelwa attended our Unfreedom Day event the 23 April this year. Inkosi Mjanyelwa was a reliable chief who understands that a chief is a chief because of the people, and not because of the state. He believed that it was his duty to ensure that the land in Mpondoland was defended against the alliance between the ruling party and the mining companies. He was against other chiefs who sold the land in Mpondoland and repressed people who resisted. He believed that land must be used for living and survival.  He believed in the truth even if it meant losing his life which he eventually did.

His life was taken by the people who are against the struggle to keep the land in the hands of the people. The ANC are claiming that he was murdered by the community because he was a dictator and is suspected of killing two people. There is a long history of the ANC using rumours to justify repression. Our comrades and members in the area are all clear that these rumours are not true. They say that Inkosi Mjanyelwa was killed for Mpondoland. He was killed so that those who wanted use the land for private profit and not for the benefit of the community could become wealthy at the expense of the people. He was killed because he was a stumbling block between those who wanted to take the land from the community. He stood his ground and never gave in to those who wanted to take away the land in Mpondoland.  They say that Inkosi Mjanyelwa was not just a chief, he was an activist.

His funeral was dominated by the ANC. This came as a surprise because the people who were marching against the arrest of six people arrested for the killing of Inkosi were wearing ANC shirts. Also, it has been the ANC because the ANC who have been pushing the rumours about Inkosi.

We know that when an activist is attacked or killed for fighting against the state, propaganda is used shamelessly. When our movement was attacked by the ANC in Kennedy Road in 2009 incredible lies were told. Those lies were later exposed as fabrication in court. In time the truth became clear. When Bhazooka Radebe of the Amadiba Crisis Committee was killed for being vocal against the mining of the Mpondoland propaganda was used.

A number of our comrades from the Eastern Cape are currently in hiding because they supported Inkosi, and the struggle to keep the land in the hands of the people, and today they are facing threats. Our movement will continue organise in the Eastern Cape and to work with all other progressive forces to protect Mpondoland from those who want to use it for profit.

The hypocrites in the ANC who were against Inkosi are now pretending to have shared his sentiments. Abahlali came out in numbers when Inkosi was laid to rest. In the end the ANC had to give Mqapheli Bonono a platform to speak for our movement and he gave a powerful speech with no compromises on our politic, which is a politic that says that land should be owned and managed, democratically, by the people and should not be bought and sold.

We remain committed to building the struggle for land, and against the alliance between the elites in the ANC and the mining companies, in Mpondoland.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, September 20, 2018.

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