All Democracy & Social Justice

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Magamba TV - Cutting Edge Political Satire from Zimbabwe
Magamba TV is Zimbabwe's leading producer of cutting edge, political satire and comedy shows. View their latest productions here.
Cover: Supporting civil society under pressure

Civil society is under pressure worldwide. This e-paper focuses on dynamics and patterns of shrinking spaces and repressions on civil society with regard to natural resource struggles and takes a closer look into consultation processes and the role of the economy.

A Guide to Local Government Budget Advocacy
Read this step by step guide to understanding and analyzing a local government budget with a focus on a specific service delivery issue. The guide was a collaborative effort with the International Budget Partnership-South Africa and the Accounting for Basic Services project.
Civic Charter

Repression of civil society is on the rise all over the world. The charter aims to support civil society organizations as activists throughout the world, to advocate for their rights and freedom of action, and to demand government guarantees.

Activists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social movements across the world are facing verbal hostility from politicians, new laws and regulations that curtail their ability to operate, and outright violence. Africa is no exception.

FOCUS UPM Newsletter - August 2015

In this edition of our newsletter we report on the decaying state of governance in our Makana Municipality in Grahamstown.

Scholars in Class
On Friday, 11 March 2016, the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) and Equal Education (EE) made submissions on the 2016 Division of Revenue Bill before the Standing Committee on Appropriations in Parliament. The submissions provided detailed and critical analysis of the 2016 budget and allocations to education spend, particularly in relation to school infrastructure and scholar transport.
The struggle for decent sanitation and a fair budget in Cape Town

Today, the Social Justice Coalition and Khayelitsha residents will be making submissions on the 2016/17 draft budget which was tabled on 31 March by Mayor Patricia de Lille. Their target: persuading the City to solve the problem of sanitation in informal settlements.

When you write about Africa, make sure to always include sad and starving characters, advises Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana in his famously ironic essay “How to write about Africa”, which takes aim at Western prejudices. In the same way that everyday laughter has been excluded from all-too-familiar depictions of the continent, African humour and satire as a form of social and political engagement remains underexplored.

FOCUS UPM Newsletter - November 2015

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 21 October, xenophobic attacks broke out in Grahamstown. Foreign nationals as well as South African citizens from other parts of the country were attacked, and their shops looted. The Unemployed People's Movement warned police of rising tensions in the community, and convened a community meeting on October 12 to discuss matters with the police. 

South Africa‘s Expanded Public Works Programme in the social sector and its impact on women
This publication sets out to provide a critical assessment of South Africa's Expanded Public Works Programme from the perspective of those most vulnerable: impoverished women.

The results of Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, released this week, hold mixed news for SA. We are not the most corrupt country on earth, but a short way beneath us the slide becomes extremely slippery.

Darth Vader

Shrinking – closing – no space: Governments across all continents villainize civil society actors. Where does their sense of threat emanate from?

Water Awareness Workshops
Watch this beautifully filmed video about a group of women in Makhaza who, in partnership with the Environmental Monitoring Group and the Coalition for Environmental Justice, are looking for positive, empowering alternatives for addressing leaks and debt where they live.
Fighting for Sanitation in South Africa's Schools

In March and April 2015, Equal Education led an effort including 10 community based organisations, 500 students, parents, teachers and grandparents belonging to the Gauteng Education Crisis Coalition in auditing the learning conditions of 200,000 students in over 200 schools in more than 20 communities in Gauteng – about 10% of the township schools in the province. This is one of the largest social audits in South Africa to date.

But Still We Rise: Report on rape in the township

Since June 2015, activists from community based organisation the Unemployed People's Movement (UPM) have began a capacity building programme that includes research into and writing about the most pressing problems facing impoverished communities in Grahamstown and surrounds.  'But Still We Rise'  is their first report from this process, and exposes the daily realities of violence faced by women across South Africa. The report is the creation of Siyasanga Bentele, Linda Gagayi, Siyamthanda Dyanti, Unathi Class and Ayanda Kota.

The articles gathered in this edition of Perspectives capture the complex and plural ways in which Africans are attempting to use ICTs to democratise democracy on the continent, the challenges they face, and the valuable lessons learned.

Authors Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcowa of 21 at 21, the Coming of Age of a Nation.

Sometimes, novelist Sonwabiso Ngcowa observes, a narrative form can tell you more. More, he means, than statistics, analysis and the dispassionate gaze that generates even the most accurate impressions of a time or a society.

South Africans protest on Human Rights Day. Photo: supplied.

The past weeks’ violence will have come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the persistent demonization and denigration of foreigners in the country’s townships. Although the world woke up to the deadly mix of violence and xenophobia in May 2008, attacks on foreigners and other outsiders neither began nor ended in 2008 writes Loren Landau.

Two former underground hip-hop turned TV stars are spoofing the Zanu-PF party with their show Zambezi News

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is notorious for several reasons. First, as a mouthpiece for the Zanu-PF party, whose 91-year-old president Robert Mugabe recently fell over at a press conference, causing a worldwide avalanche of memes and a more localised effort to suppress the original evidence. Second, for its appalling technical glitches. And, third, for its ingenious spoof by two Harare comedians, Comrade Fatso and Outspoken, who met on the underground hip-hop scene and are risking their lives to make some of the sharpest satire on the continent.

What we do

Inequality, poverty and the failure to deliver quality public services such as health and education threaten to undo democratic gains in the region.  In response, the Democracy & Social Justice programme seeks to strengthen the political voice of marginalised groups advocating for socio-economic rights and the equitable use of state resources to address injustice.

The programme supports citizen groups’ engagement with policy, analysis of budgets and social audits.  It also supports citizen networks and network building that seek to build public ownership of democratic institutions, and hold them to account for their role in building a just society. The programme specifically targets social movements and membership based organisations.

As feminism is a central tenet of all HBF programmes, this programme works towards the vision of a society and institutions which actively respond to – and attempt to correct – the political and socio-economic realities of gender inequality.