Human Rights

SACSIS embraces a rights based approach to development, which views poverty as a denial of human rights.

Nelson Mandela's Closest Allies

Picture credit: Nelson Mandela courtesy Archives de la Ville de Montreal/Flickr. Tom Fawthrop - The long struggle of Nelson Mandela—from freedom fighter and political prisoner to president of South Africa—has, in death, received universal acclaim from world leaders. Even George H.W. Bush, who was U.S. president when a white racist dictatorship held the predominantly black South Africa hostage, gushed with praise. UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other Western leaders past and present were similarly effusive. So if the leaders of the most powerful countries had...

16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence: Time to Reshape the Campaign

Picture credit: Tania.Paz/flickr Frank Meintjies - Each year we greet the ‘16 days of Activism to end violence against women and children’ with the usual mixed feelings. This is the dilemma - without it, there would be less awareness-raising on the issue. Yet the campaign is woefully inadequate. It has become co-opted by the establishment; it has become so routinized that key organisations leave their planning till late; key activists openly question the effectiveness of the campaign and, for many institutions, the “16...

Poverty and Prostitution: Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms

Picture credit: Deviant Art Vanessa Burger - It’s always easy to bully the weak. Or blame the victim. Or focus on superficial details instead of addressing the big picture. Most medication treats the symptoms but rarely the cause of an illness. Unsurprisingly, this also applies to the recent anti-prostitution protests organised by the Bulwer Community Safety Forum in Glenwood, Durban. Disappointingly however, many of the organisers and participants of this protest should know better. When symptoms of an illness persist after...

Time to Demonstrate Solidarity with Joburg's Street Traders

Frank Meintjies - How does one make sense of the injustice of Johannesburg’s “clean sweep” campaign? In the name of cleaning up the streets of downtown Johannesburg, thousands of street traders have had their stalls demolished in recent days. The lack of strong or widespread objection from the public and urban planners in response to this merciless act by the authorities is remarkable. Perhaps more disappointing is the lack of solidarity action on the part of civil society organisations....

The Ten layers of Oppression When You are Black and Poor in South Africa

Picture credit: gemma.travel/flickr Gillian Schutte & Sipho Singiswa - Oppression, when written about, is often reduced to one layer of suffering. Yet when one unpacks the lives and narratives of the poor it becomes clear that their struggle to survive takes place under many layers of oppression. Layer One:  The History of Racial Oppression The most obvious layer of oppression is that of a history of colonialism, labour and apartheid. Colonialists created ‘race’ as a way of oppressing the colonised. This race construct was created on the...

Why Do Those with Full Bellies Determine Food Policy for the Starving?

Glenn Ashton - Imagine fighting fatigue to struggle out of bed each morning, to eat nothing beside a thin gruel of maize meal. Now you must go to work, or seek work or get your exhausted brain to consider ways to get your family though another day, without additional sustenance to fuel your failing body. This is the reality of more than 40% of South Africans. Worse yet, the situation is deteriorating; food inflation markedly exceeds broader inflation. The limited existing food security programmes reach...