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Old Beginnings - The political context of Zimbabwe and a report on Biometric Voter Registration (BVR): A National and Matabeleland Perspective by Solidarity Peace Trust

November 2017 witnessed tumultuous events in Zimbabwean politics. After months of factional struggles between the Lacoste faction led by then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, also nicknamed the crocodile, and the Generation 40 (G40) faction around President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, Mugabe fired Mnangagwa on the 6th November. This followed Mugabe’s warning to Mnangagwa two days before when Grace Mugabe was booed at a rally in Bulawayo. The President’s wife threatened the embattled Vice President with the call that the ‘snake must be hit on the head.’ This was the First Lady’s decisive move in her bid for the Vice Presidency in the upcoming Zanu PF congress in December 2017.

#RhodesMustFall – It was Never Just About the Statue


The 2015 #RhodesMustFall protests – which started at the University of Cape Town – led to nationwide calls for the “decolonisation” of universities and free higher education. Zethu Matebeni gives her perspective.

By Zethu Matebeni

Beyond the Individual: Redefining Icons in Africa Interview


In this interview, Mukoma wa Ngugı sees hope in new, horizontal social movements that may bring to the fore a new iconography that transcends the individual and depoliticised “saviour”. 

By Mukoma wa Ngugi, Richard Oduor Oduku

People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime Set to Challenge the Powerful

The People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime in South Africa will open its first hearings this Saturday, 3 February, at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. People’s Tribunals have been led by citizens and civil society for over four decades to address human rights abuses and war crimes in many contexts, including Palestine and Indonesia. The South African People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime will be the first tribunal of its kind to focus primarily on economic crimes and corruption.

Media Statement – Relief for Single Parents Seeking School Fee Exemptions

Yesterday, the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) secured a significant judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal relating to the burden that single parents, particularly single mothers, face when seeking to ensure access to education for their children. EELC’s client, Michelle Saffer, struggled for more than 6 years to secure a vindication of her rights - her courage and tenacity has paved the way for greater certainty and clarity for parents in her position. The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) entered the case as a friend of the court, highlighting the impact of the current fee exemption scheme in fee paying schools on women who are similarly placed as Ms Saffer and the manner in which the current framework discriminates against women.

Perspectives #03/2017: The (Un-) Making of Icons in Africa


Which African leaders qualify as an icon? Perhaps this is always a controversial question, but it was much easier to answer, say, 25 years ago, when the public memories of Pan-Africanist champions such as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere were still fresh, Nelson Mandela had just walked out of prison, and Robert Mugabe was a widely respected leader.

Zimbabwe: Caught between the Croc and Gucci City


Both the Mugabe’s succession plan and Mnangagwa’s long held Presidential ambitions have been in play for some time. While they have coincided in their strategic intent, at some point the final confrontation between the two was always on the cards.

By Brian Raftopoulos

What the Hijacking of South Africa’s Treasury means for the Economy

South Africa has been rocked by news that President Jacob Zuma has bulldozed the country’s National Treasury to adopt a fee free higher education proposal without following standard process and scrutiny. This is reportedly what’s behind the resignation of the Treasury’s respected head of budgeting, Michael Sachs. The Conversation Africa’s Sibonelo Radebe asked Seán Muller to weigh up the implications.

By Seán Mfundza Muller

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.