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Questioning the representation of South Africa's 'new social movements': a case study of the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Revolution is an act of defiance, an overturning, charging, challenging. It is not a myth we want to create--a buoyant moment that captures all our hopes and dreams. And yet, revolution is also represented: we carry in our hearts and minds and words and beings, snapshots of revolution--the revolutionary moment and the revolutionary subject. In South Africa, those who have already written about 'the new social movements' have described 'the poors' (Desai, 2002), 'the community' (Weekes, 2003) the resistance of 'pensioners' (Pithouse, 2001), the 'aunties' (Pithouse, 2001), and so on, in an optimistic and glorifying way; they have selected descriptions of the movement by its participants, but without any deep and meaningful critique of whether or not that self-description matches action.

Part of the reason for this may be that current writers on these movements sought to attract attention to these struggles in the world-at-large, 'to build national and international solidarity' (Pithouse, 2004, personal communication), but do not seem to have considered the need for their work to constitute a movement talking to itself. The emphasis was on the vibrancy of these movements and the fight against the former liberators (primarily embodied by the ANC). The intention seems to have been to create representation and 'writing that sought to inspire new sensibilities' (Pithouse, 2003: 124). They seem to have been inspired by poetical notions of the struggle in motion: hence poeticism has filled much of the writing on 'new social movements', for example: 'Outside gray skies and acid rain. Inside the room hums with restless, excited energy. Preggie [Naidoo] is in a militant mood. He promises that: "Nobody will kick anybody out of their home"' (Pithouse, 2001). These romantic words are a representation from the 'activist intellectuals' (Pithouse, 2001), but also from the geographic and economic 'community' searching for such a representation to confirm that they are indeed doing something different to open up new possibilities. This emphasis on what is new masks the underlying reality of a movement which is, at times, brutal and ugly, and often still relies on the old methods, old forms of organization, mass struggle, the representation of charismatic leaders and speakers, and so on. Images of 'the poors', 'the community', resistance of 'pensioners', the 'aunties', and so on, create manageable molar blocks (1), because, after all, what shorthands can we use to talk about the diverse and overlapping flows of struggle?

It is not that previous writers 'assume that there is a particular category of people that have a unique ontological priority that includes a particular capacity to act as the revolutionary agent that will redeem all of humanity', but that they have sought to emphasize 'a "new humanity" arising out of every synthetic moment' (Pithouse, 2003:110):
   This sense that there is some sacred potential in humanity, a
   potential which can and is actualised from time to time, can lead to
   a sense of reverence and therefore of respect for human (self and
   world making) creativity. And this feeling, this subjectivity, has
   an extraordinarily persuasive power ... This can, in turn, inspire
   action aimed at realising a more human world. (Where 'human'
   describes the positive potential that exists in every human being.)
   (p. 110)

In writing about the struggle in order to inspire, 'human potential' becomes an article of faith: something we believe in, whatever the reality.

This article seeks to challenge current representation of 'new social movements' using one already highly-publicized struggle as a case study: the struggle of Mandela Park and the MPAEC (2) (see Desai and Pithouse, this issue). Many of the issues raised in this article are also specifically applicable to many of the affiliates of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (WCAEC) (3) and generally applicable to discussions of South Africa's 'new social movements'.

Undoubtedly, there are 'poor' 'pensioners' in our 'communities'--there are also housewives, church ministers, 'dronkies', (4) domestic workers, stonethrowers, those who wash the bodies of the dead, women-batterers, thieves, parents, brothers, sisters, gangsters, praise singers and graffiti artists, moneylenders, our named 'heroes' and the nameless unknown. A similar point has been made in other writing on our 'new social movements' (e.g. Desai, 2002), but the writing has not exposed the relationships of power between these diverse subjectivities and the power relations underlying the moments of insurgency that they studied.

Current writing points to the potential of these struggles, but does not expose how, again and again, spaces are closed down, organization is centralized and hierarchy emerges in the new spaces as we create them. Without a coherent study of the operations of power in these struggles, we cannot begin to grapple with methods for shifting those power relations; we cannot confront what we refuse to see. This means that current writing is concerned with what the 'new social movements' look like to 'the world out there', with what the most visible and articulate activists say--which often sounds like what we want to hear, but does not unpack what it is like for those many invisible and silent people within. Therefore, the 'activist intellectuals' have served as publicists for the movements, but have not sought to critique and challenge the shape of these existing forms of insurgency.

It is not that I am against poetic and inspiring writing per se--I have written such things myself (5)--however, this writing is not enough, especially when there is no critique of the notion of solidarity as 'inspired support', and there are no attempts to articulate other kinds of solidarity. Many of the international activists who visited Mandela Park have spoken about being inspired to support our South African struggles through reading The Poors (Desai, 2001), but in the absence of a clear grasp of what solidarity could be, this inspiration leads to little more than 'political tourism' or charity.

In the MPAEC I have heard inspiring words, but many of them mask the actual day-to-day practice, which marginalizes and excludes diverse voices, until struggle becomes 'a parody of what it claims to depose' (Bomke, 2004, personal communication).

Power and representation

Representation is all about power relations, about voices heard and voices silenced. The terrain of representation has become a terrain of power and domination. In studying representation and the MPAEC, therefore, I will be looking at the methods of silencing and promoting particular voices. These methods are rooted in the organizational structures of the MPAEC, but also in the particular structures of capitalism and patriarchy.

In discussing this, it is not my intention merely to question the 'truth' or validity of current representation, but also to show how current representation reinforces existing power relations and allows them to thrive unchallenged and unabated. So, what are the primary structures of power in the MPAEC and how do they operate?

While researchers highlighted the mass, and seemingly democratic, nature of struggle in Mandela Park, inside there has always been, and remains, a lot of jockeying for positions and conflicts over how to do things. In the early 1990s and during the run up to the end of apartheid, these conflicts were mainly projected through two different political parties: the ANC and the PAC. The ANC supporters were in favour of a negotiated settlement, while the PAC supporters favoured a confrontation between the apartheid apparatus and the oppressed.

Once the MPAEC had constituted itself, however, the general feeling was: 'No more fish and chips political parties!' (6) The residents of Mandela Park were feeling that the community was really pulling together for the first time; they were, like the lefty 'outsiders', excited by how they had managed to unite and pull together. It was obvious that the political parties in whom the community had placed so much hope would not deliver on their promises. Many 'insiders' were also dreaming with a discourse and rhetoric that was anti-ANC and anti-'politics as usual'. In the words of the former secretary of the MPAEC, Zuki Mlonyeni: 'We want to make decisions--not make leaders' (Desai and Pithouse, this issue).

These are powerful words that have strongly influenced the reading of Mandela Park by researchers. It is through these words that many inside and outside the geographical zone of Mandela Park have dreamed their best dreams. But in Mandela Park, as elsewhere in the world, realizing that dream is proving much more difficult in practice. While some spout the rhetoric of 'no leaders', they happily step up to a leadership position and block anyone who attempts to challenge that position. This is not merely about their own self-aggrandizement, but also about how they are seen by some members of 'the community', for example, 'Max [Ntanyana] is the people's hero' (Chris Ndabazandile, 2003, at the WCAEC General Council Meeting). So, in spite of the discourse about despising leadership from some activists--which is genuine on the level of thoughts and beliefs--how has an elite leadership come to hold such sway in Mandela Park?

While the struggle in Mandela Park has been described as a serious attack on the status quo--the ANC's neo-liberal policies, privatization, and the imposition of consumerism on 'the poor'--'insiders' have generally viewed the end point of struggle in terms of the ANC's election promises of free services (housing, electricity, water, etc.), while 'outsiders' viewed and characterized Mandela Park as a platform for a wider, possibly even global, struggle, as part of the 'new internationalism' described by Massimo De Angelis (1998):
   I believe the character of this internationalism is moving to
   another more radical direction. First, although in many cases it
   holds to old ideas and conceptions, it is clearly evident that on
   the terrain of organisation this new internationalism in
   definitively losing the 'national' dimension as referent, and on
   the terrain of the definition of an alternative the local, regional
   or national struggle acquires an immediate global character.

In the internal discussions of the MPAEC (and also the WCAEC) it has become more important to define the organizational boundaries--who is 'in' and who is 'out'--than to develop its program of action. That is, numerous discussions circulate regarding who belongs to the WCAEC and who has the power over others, with regard to determining mandates, access to resources, and so forth, rather than focusing on the power to do the work that needs doing (Holloway, 2002).

The operations of power

Inside the MPAEC
   The induction into the conquest of power inevitably becomes an
   induction into power itself.... Differences within the organisation
   become struggles for power. Manipulation and manoeuvring for power
   become a way of life. (Holloway, 2002)

While mass meetings were held within the MAPEC, they did not attempt to come up with new structures or strategies. The meetings were instead a place where people could bring their problems and get reports regarding ongoing work. These problems were then tackled by a handful of individuals, the visible 'activists', who decide the strategy outside the space of the mass meetings.

This meant that in 2002 the MPAEC was structured around mass meetings with a permanent chair, and though masses of people attended, no particular efforts were made to ensure full participation. It was simply assumed that since mass meetings were being held, everyone felt able to speak at those meetings. However, in a workshop held on 28 September 2002 to discuss alternative forms of organizing, numerous workshop participants spoke about why they did not participate in meetings and how they felt silenced by the structure of these mass meetings.

Many of the women in the workshop complained that their hands were often ignored in favour of more visible activists, and that if they were given a voice, but said something that seemed to contradict the visible activists, then they would not be called on again and they became embarrassed, feeling that their words were seen as 'stupid'. Also, they felt that what they had said was often not deemed important enough by the chair and their comments would not be included in the summary of discussion. They also admitted that because of this they often did not even bother to raise their hands, and that the mass meetings were where they could find out what was happening in the campaign, rather than a space where they could contribute to the decisions and work of the campaign.

The gender dynamics of representation and power

Existing writing on 'new social movements' has often celebrated the role of women in these struggles. 'The Aunties Revolt' (Pithouse, 2001) flags the important role of women in the title, yet it makes no real critique of the structure of power in the gender relations. Many of the passages in the article seem to contradict the notion of women taking power, as the women refer to the power of men in the struggles, for example: 'Ashwin Desai was my hero' and 'Preggie Naidoo has brought the people together and with togetherness is holding us'. In 'But We Were Thousands' (Desai and Pithouse, this issue), gender issues barely receive mention: 'Attempts to mobilize around issues within communities--like family violence [my emphasis], strategies for generating collective livelihoods, the creation of spaces for artistic expression and so on--have been fragmented and limited'. There is no real 'exposure of the often silent and hidden operations of gender that are nonetheless present and defining forces' (Joan Wallach Scott, cited in Johnson, 2001: 9) in the organization of South Africa's 'new social movements'.

Patriarchal power relations continue to shape the MPAEC and struggles in Mandela Park. Discussions around gender do not even begin to make the agenda in groups like the MPAEC or the WCAEC, that is, there is no representation of women. When I have made my own attempts to raise these issues, I was told, for example, 'you do not understand our culture'. In the MPAEC office during an informal discussion I was told: 'Since you are now part of our community your role as a young wife is to be silent and humble'. While this was presented as a joke, the activist who made the comment was later arrested for allegedly murdering his girlfriend. Also, when attending a social event in Mandela Park, one of the activists asked me to go to his home with him to meet his wife. I asked why the wife was not at the social event and he told me that it was because his wife was menstruating and, therefore, could not leave the house.

While the MPAEC consisted mostly of women, in meetings that I attended most of those who raised their hands to speak were men, and most of those chosen to speak were men. One of the weaknesses of the MPAEC is that 'it has not yet reached the point of producing a qualitative and autonomous expression of revolutionary women' (Charles, 1975). According to two leading male MPAEC activists: 'We don't allow women to occupy positions in the Mandela Park Campaign because women are just gossips'. When women discuss the ins and outs of the organization of which they are members, it is 'just gossip', but when men discuss the same things, it is 'real politics'.

Most male activists of the MPAEC did not recognize the significance of the gender composition of MPAEC meetings. In fact, the position of women as 'homemakers' and 'kin workers' (Hardt, 2003) meant that in the context of an attack on the conditions of life itself, women's lives were set on a collision course with the banks and the state. The 'affective labor' of women in Mandela Park produces 'social networks, forms of community, biopower ... Staying alive: politics has become a matter of life itself and the struggle has taken the form of a biopower from above against a biopower from below' (Hardt, 2003).

The poor representation of the women in the MPAEC has not come about because of an attack on women per se, but rather in the 'unequivocal, decisive and obvious manifestation in the relations between revolutionary men and women, and in the manner in which the direct and natural relations of the sexes is conceived' (Charles, 1975). This is precisely in line with the comment that I 'do not understand the culture'--the pervasive culture of the predominantly Xhosa community of Mandela Park is sexist. Even though not all the men and women in the MPAEC agree with this version of Xhosa culture, it is not openly discussed or objected to: at best it is given scrutiny in muttered, barely voluble comments, not in loud and articulate challenges. In terms of gender dynamics in the 'new social movements' then, the pervasive culture is the machinery of oppression.

It is not widely understood that the oppression of women by men is the pervasive culture the world over. There is little critique of that oppressive 'culture', partly because it is self-serving and self-perpetuating, but also because gender issues are viewed as a western import: an attack on gender dynamics is treated as yet another imposition of western ideologies, another example of cultural imperialism. The political history of many of the 'outside' activists (especially 'white' activists) has involved a confrontation with their own racist culture, but the significance of this challenge to culture is not widely perceived.

Mandela Park activists claim to be 'revolutionary' in their thinking, and to want to overturn the systems that create oppression. But this is predominantly viewed as attacking the State, capitalism, privatization, and so on: not as an attack on their own oppressive 'cultural' systems or their own oppressive thoughts and actions. In the words of one WCAEC executive member (and leading MPAEC activist): 'I am an African and democracy stops at my front gate'. Political aspirations are projected onto 'the community', while the notion of paying attention to relationship dynamics within the organization is ridiculed. This is essentially retreating into a reactionary notion of what is 'African', while the more revolutionary demands of the MPAEC (represented by the majority women-supported campaign) are grounded in an expansive notion of what constitutes the needs of a fully human life.

In early December 2002, when I witnessed--and tried to prevent--one of the core male activists in the MPAEC assaulting his pregnant girlfriend (also an activist) at an MPAEC social event, I raised the matter with WCAEC executive in February 2003. The all-male executive decided that it was a personal matter, nothing to do with the campaign and, therefore, the activist in question would not be suspended from his position on the executive (not all the men on the executive agreed with this decision).

Since then, I have talked to numerous activists in the campaign about these events and tried to discuss more broadly the gender dynamics in organizations affiliated to the WCAEC. Some activists indicated that they thought that I was being a 'divisive element', 'whining about nothing', in raising these matters, and told again that 'you don't understand our culture'. I was also repeatedly asked to explain why women do not leave their abusive partners, and since they often do not, was told that it is the women's 'own fault' for staying in abusive relationships. This is how women's issues are represented in Mandela Park, and in the WCAEC as a whole. Women form the largest contingent of members in the WCAEC, yet it is men who are in control.

If we do not question gender dynamics, listen to the voices and experiences of 'family violence', they will certainly never make it onto the agenda. The MPAEC is not a 'listening' organization: inside the MPAEC there is no attempt to change gender dynamics, and 'activist intellectuals' only listen to the structured representation of the organization in formal interviews that do not interrogate gender dynamics. While these seemingly gullible, but acclaimed researchers presumably write because they want others to learn from and share in their experience, I have not found a movement talking to itself, critiquing itself, or challenging and overturning itself.

I do not believe that previous researchers are not aware of or witness to abusive (not necessarily violent) gender dynamics (since they are pervasive) in the 'new social movements', yet the public narration of our movements has nothing to say about these matters. Instead, constructed myths are widely propagated and it is acceptable for abusive men to hold positions, while women are silenced and marginalized. The fact that women's issues are poorly represented or represented only in the margins 'reveals the inscription of an otherness' (Johnson, 2001: 7) or 'outsidering' of women in current writing. Below I will discuss further examples of the representation and creation of 'otherness' and 'outsidering' in the MPAEC and how this is used to hold power over the people. The gender issues in our 'new social movements' are not side issues, but 'an extremely rich terrain' (Hardt, 2003) on which to take forward radical struggles around the forms of life itself.


The workshop of 28 September 2002 also attempted to discuss alternative methods to ensure the MPAEC structure was more inclusive, but the disapproval of the workshop was signalled by the lead activists walking out at the beginning. These activists resisted any attempts to shape the MPAEC and insisted that they were 'structureless' and did not want leaders or coordinating committees:
   Community movements like the MPAEC tend to be very wary of
   constituting themselves as formal organizations and linking into an
   organized national structure. In part this is a 'reflexive' response
   to the post-apartheid 'co-option of 'radical' civic leaders and a
   fear that formalization will lead to the development of internal
   oligarchies that will 'tend to blunt the main source of movement
   influence, militancy'.... The suspicion of formal organization is
   also matched by a suspicion of 'leaders', fuelled by fears that
   people's mobilization will, once again, be hijacked (Desai and
   Pithouse, this issue).

There was little recognition of the fact that:
   There is no such thing as a 'structureless' group. Any group of
   people of whatever nature coming together for any length of time,
   for any purpose, will inevitably structure itself in some
   fashion.... This means that to strive for a 'structureless' group is
   as useful and as deceptive as to aim at an 'objective' news
   story.... Thus 'structurelessness' becomes a way of masking power.
   (Freeman, 1970)

On the face of it, anyone and everyone was entitled to speak at Mandela Park meetings. According to Desai and Pithouse (this issue):
   At these meetings everyone can speak, everyone is obliged to listen
   and decisions are taken by a show of hands. Discussion tends to be
   extremely practical and to draw on the many varied strengths of the
   community. The culture, still promoted by the 'liberation
   movements', of simply applauding speakers on a platform and
   endlessly reciting empty slogans, has been decidedly broken.

But the reality was that decisions made in the meetings were often later blocked and overturned, or simply ignored. Lip service was often paid to what had been said in the mass meetings, but decisions about the work of the MPAEC were actually being taken elsewhere.

Also, inside the mass meetings, your wish to speak was indicated simply by a show of hands: the chairperson then selected, from the show of hands, people to speak. Discussion was often terminated by the chair with a simple deferral: 'We'll discuss this later', or 'I don't think it's urgent to discuss this right now'. Sometimes other activists were clearly unhappy with such deferrals, but the meeting went ahead anyway according to the agenda of the chairperson. If those activists continued to try to raise the matter, their raised hands were simply ignored so that they could not have an opportunity to speak.

In a meeting held on Sunday 10 November 2002, in response to a damning Cape Times article (Ntabazalila, 2002) published on 8 November 2002, some activists and pensioners stood up and asked Max Ntanyana to take a back seat in the struggle, to not put himself forward as the face of the campaign. They suggested that, instead, the strategy should be to make evicted pensioners the face of the campaign, since protecting Ntanyana from the legal onslaught was taking up an increasing amount of time and energy in the campaign, and the actual issues which had brought the Mandela Park community together were now becoming invisible.

This decision was agreed upon in the meeting, since many of the pensioners wanted to prove the Cape Times article was a lie when it said: 'They are playing with the notions of elderly, illiterate residents who don't understand the law' (Ntabazalila, 2002). But no concrete plans were made to change the structure of the MPAEC or to elect different spokespeople for the campaign, and Max Ntanyana and Fonky Goboza remained firmly entrenched as the spokespersons. While Ntanyana's experience of being in jail was widely valorized in the community, pensioners were treated like 'passive victims' whose voices were not important enough.

Furthermore, decisions that were made when two lead activists were not in attendance at meetings were not held to be legitimate. Actions that were taken without authorization from these two lead activists--even though they were in hiding and could not attend meetings because of bail conditions--were held to be 'without a mandate'. Increasingly, the discourse in Mandela Park centred on who was entitled to represent the MPAEC and who had a mandate to act or speak on behalf of the campaign.

The leadership layer of the MPAEC has been even more firmly entrenched by the activities of the State and the representation of Mandela Park in the media. The publicity of events in Mandela Park has proved to be a double-edged sword in terms of the struggle there. Increasingly, attention was focused on two of the leading activists in the Mandela Park campaign, Max Ntanyana and Fonky Goboza, because they had frequently acted as spokespersons for the campaign. In movements around the world, it is clear that the media and State do not know how to understand organizations without leaders, and that 'we live in a society which expects political groups to make decisions and to select people to articulate those decisions to the public at large ... the public is conditioned to look for spokespeople' (Freeman, 1970).

In terms of the MPAEC, the Western Cape government officials could not believe that an independent community organization could have such power. According to Community Safety MEC, Leonard Ramatlakane: 'This group has a political agenda and is backed by a political organization' (Ntabazalila, 2002). The same news article went on to name Max Ntanyana as the leader:
   Three members of the group's leadership are out on bail on charges
   of intimidation. The leader of the Khayelitsha Anti-Eviction
   Campaign, Max Ntanyana--one of the trio out on bail--was among the
   people who lead a march to the Civic Centre on Thursday to protest
   at evictions'. (Ntabazalila, 2002)

Undoubtedly, the fact that State repression (and the time he served in jail) focused particularly on Ntanyana, served to turn him into a hero for the community. Pamphlets and graffiti saying 'Free Max' were widely distributed while he was jailed in September/October 2002, mimicking the 'Free Mandela' campaign of the apartheid years. As the state focused its attacks primarily on Ntanyana, so the community, national and international activists pulled together, also focusing their attention on Ntanyana and his criminalization:
   And we get overwhelming support from the community. When we appear
   in court it is full up.... There was support from Argentina, Canada,
   Italy, America, Germany. People from Durban and Johannesburg came
   down physically. They came to the court and to visit us in prison.
   The support made me feel very strong. I was not worried anymore.
   (Interview in Desai and Pithouse, this issue)

Meeting after meeting focused on how we were going to get Ntanyana out of jail, and once he was out of jail, how we were going to ensure he could still operate despite severely repressive bail conditions.

Once Max Ntanyana was out of jail, he and Goboza became the public faces of the MPAEC and took on celebrity status: being interviewed by researchers (who tended to focus mainly on these two activists), getting radio interviews, and conceptualizing and orchestrating a mass rally. This was a daring strategy supported by many activists, including myself, because it was a deliberate refusal to be silenced, despite the repressive interdict and bail conditions which Ntanyana was under. (7) However, in general, spokespersons in organizations such as MPAEC are chosen (not usually by election) because they are the most articulate members of the organization, but specifically in terms of their English or Afrikaans language skills essential for dealing with the South African media. Ntanyana is a highly articulate individual who, at the time of his arrests, was a shop steward in the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU). Goboza had previously worked in an NGO environment, though he had since been made redundant. Their language abilities made it possible for them to get the limelight--for themselves and the MPAEC.

Meanwhile other activists, such as 'Bin Laden', Pahlane, Mfundisi, Charles, Thami, Winnie and Neliswa, continued the work of returning evicted people to their homes, collecting money for legal defence, managing the office where people came daily with their problems related to evictions, water and electricity cut-offs, building links with other communities in and around Khayelitsha, and trying to persuade the powers-that-be--government officials, bank officials--to visit Mandela Park and see for themselves what was really going on. The MPAEC office was always a flurry of activity, with numerous activists and Mandela Park residents hanging around there, either seeking or providing assistance, or just talking and sharing any donated food and drinks.

Support for Mandela Park from other WCAEC activists, national activists and international activists was at an all-time high, but the cracks were already beginning to show in Mandela Park and certain activists were already being sidelined.


In using the terms 'insider and 'outsider' in this article, it is not my intention to validate those terms as politically useful. However, on the level of the representation of Mandela Park in other papers, news articles, and so on, and in the use of the term 'community' to indicate a mythical geographical and economic unity, it is clear that these notions hold power for many activists. The representation of who is an 'insider' and who is an 'outsider' is a powerful political tool which has partly led to the particular structure of the MPAEC. 'Insider'/'outsider' is, in fact, the structure of power in this 'structureless' space.

Current writing on 'new social movements' depicts insurgence as fairly coherent and cohesive by celebrating the insuppressible 'human potential'. However, these depictions reinforce the structure of 'insider'/'outsider', in that 'activist intellectuals' are relegated to observing from the periphery, from 'outside' the struggle. They rarely depict themselves as actors or agents of struggle: only occasionally are they written into the history, shaping things; they mostly write as if they accept themselves as 'outsiders'--not 'the poors', not members of 'the community', not exercising much power.

Like numerous local, national and international activists, and having already worked in the WCAEC for some time, I was attracted to the struggle in Mandela Park by the overt and obvious events that led this struggle to be publicized. (8) The influx of activists served to bolster the struggle in Mandela Park and made many community members feel that their struggle was no longer invisible to the outside world and, therefore, the Slate, banks, and so forth, would have a harder time crushing their struggle. The local, national and international activists brought various kinds of support: donating money and other resources, joining the fight, bringing and writing messages of solidarity, and releasing stories to the press and IndyMedia.

Many of these activists that offered support saw in Mandela Park the possibility of a widening struggle: many also hoped to share their experience from other struggles and, in doing so, to build on the creative energy exploding in Mandela Park, and also in the worldwide struggle 'community'. Some also hoped to help the MPAEC to avoid some of the pitfalls of various struggle 'methodologies', especially hierarchical methods of organizing. In Mandela Park at the time there was a powerful discourse against the ANC, against the banks, and against electing any leaders of the movement, and much of the language used was similar to the language used in other struggles around the globe.

Attempts were made to create a flow of shared experience by trying to discuss, for example, the experience of other communities in the WCAEC, the social centres in Italy, the Zapatistas, Affinity Group Theory from the Anti-Globalisation Movement, and the Piqueteros in Argentina--indeed, in August 2002 one member of the MPAEC was chosen to go to Argentina to share similar encounters there. However, these attempts to introduce new ideas were largely unsuccessful, and the response was that any attempts to structure the MPAEC in a conscious way would create leadership and cause rivalry and divisions.

Activists from elsewhere, although initially welcomed as 'insiders', were quickly made to feel that they were 'outsiders' when they tried to inject debate about the structure of the MPAEC and power. They were then relegated to the position of representing Mandela Park (in a particular way) to the outside world, but their input regarding struggle experience from elsewhere was not valorized to the extent that no space and time was designated to discuss these matters, despite efforts from 'outside' activists to do just that. (9) Indeed, in 2003 those who continued to try and inject alternative, non-hierarchical practices were accused of having 'their own agenda'. The Argentinian trip was never reported back to the MPAEC or the WCAEC, so there was no way in which to discuss how to share their experiences, their learning, or how to build international solidarity. The trip to Argentina only served to boost the legitimacy in Mandela Park of the person who made the trip.

Those 'outsiders' who attempted to conscientize or build the solidarity of MPAEC activists with struggles elsewhere were, understandably, met with glazed expressions. While a certain unity was emerging in the Mandela Park community, few 'insiders' saw themselves as part of a wider community of struggle. Struggles in Argentina, Mexico, Seattle, and so on, were abstract and distant. However, struggles in Mandela Park were immediate and concrete, and judging by the influx of 'outside' activists, were the most relevant struggles happening in Cape Town-and possibly South Africa--at that time. And at a WCAEC level this 'relevance' was used to harangue and undermine other community organizations who were not as organized, or who had once been more organized, but had now collapsed for various reasons, even though there were other successful struggles against evictions taking place in Cape Town at the time. (10)

The arrival of 'outsiders' in Mandela Park also served to entrench particular power structures, as the people that 'outsiders' predominantly interacted with came to be seen as having more legitimacy. However, this was also contested: power struggles took place among those who were achieving legitimacy and, ultimately, many of those who achieved a certain amount of legitimacy were later purged of it.

In Mandela Park itself, the leading activists have generally adopted the tactic of blaming 'outsiders' and blocking any inward reflection, and those aiming for inward reflection and critique have been turned into 'outsiders' by purging. 'Outsiders' are very easy to target, because they are easily characterized as not being from the area and, therefore, completely unable to grasp the nuances of local struggle. If 'outsiders' are critical of what they see happening in a community they are told that they do not respect the mass or democracy. And the only real space/role created for 'outsiders' in Mandela Park is providing funding for their activities and for legal defence:
   Throughout my stay I was asked for money many times. Max [Ntanyana]
   was promising the youth that I would buy them T-shirts, banners and
   paint for the offices.... On Tuesday, 9 September, Max asked me if I
   could help the youth with the T-shirts. When I told him that my
   budget was not for T-shirts but only for workshop related expenses,
   he and some other comrades tried to negotiate the number of T-shirts
   I could help them with. They did not seem to believe that I did not
   have money for that. They mentioned the fact that Julian [a previous
   intern] came with the computer and that I too should leave a mark in
   the community, that mark being a hundred T-shirts, not the
   newsletter. (A visiting activist, who was meant to help the
   community set up its own ongoing newsletter, 2002)

   Neither Max [Ntanyana] nor Fonky [Goboza] were very forthcoming or
   helpful. They were aware of the problems I was experiencing with the
   workshops but they never showed an interest in helping me solve
   them. They only approached me when they wanted to ask me to help
   them with money. (Zivkovic, 2003: 2)

These monetary problems were not limited to Mandela Park. There is a general feeling that money is anti-our politics: we are anti-the-power-of-money, no one wants to deal with it and yet we are inextricably caught up in it. At the WCAEC AGM in May 2002, Peter van Heusden, a more affluent activist in the WCAEC, was unanimously elected as Treasurer on the Executive Committee, because charges of misappropriation of funds had already been circulated within WCAEC structures, and general council participants from various community organizations did not trust each other with money:
   You can't elect someone who does not have money to be a treasurer.
   The temptation for them to use the money for their own things is too
   high. Your treasurer should always preferably be someone who has
   their own income so that they are above question. (Jerome, a
   Tafelsig community member, 2003, personal communication)

MPAEC activists later invented and circulated rumours that Peter van Heusden had misappropriated funds, in an attempt to disable his activities in the WCAEC. Also, the WCAEC contingent that participated in the activities around the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August 2002 was riddled with numerous arguments about who should control the money, accusations about the misappropriation of funds, and disagreements about how money should be spent (Soraya Hendricks from Delft, Ashraf Cassiem from Tafelsig, and Fonky Goboza from Mandela Park, as well as other activists, personal communication).

Members of community organizations, such as the MPAEC have not been eager to create their own fundraising activities or set up their own bank accounts. According to some leading MPAEC activists this is because 'in the past there has been a lot of misappropriation of funds' and, therefore, 'we can't fundraise in Mandela Park because it is going to create too many problems'. And according to one MPAEC activist known as 'Blacks', 'Max was able to gain credibility in Mandela Park because he managed to get funds from outside and did not need to ask the community for donations to fund activities'. Indeed, while Ntanyana was in jail, a worldwide campaign was launched to raise money for lawyers and bail, but in an MPAEC meeting, it was decided that 'we cannot only rely on outsiders' and that every member household should contribute R10 (or as much as they could afford) towards Max's legal defence. When Max was released from prison, he was angry to hear this and said: 'These comrades [who collected and managed the money] must answer to the community'.

'Outsiders' were made to grapple with the fact that when they hand over the cash to an individual, an impression of favouritism is created within community organizations which serves to entrench particular power structures and perceptions about who has a mandate to represent the organization to the outside world. The complexities of handling money contradicts the sentiment expressed by Anna Weekes (2003), in her highly publicized attack on the former treasurer of the WCAEC, Peter van Heusden: 'It is only when communities and social movements control their own finances that there will be an end to abuse of the poor by those few priviliged [sic] activists who have access to email'. The rhetoric of what constitutes a community in Mandela Park is still a fairly blunt instrument, and does not take into account the multi-faceted nature of what makes up a community, nor does it acknowledge the flows--of money, struggle, and so on--that impact the shape of the campaign.

The representation of the movement as being primarily rooted in geographic and economic communities ignores the reality of a wider community of struggle, which is multi-sited and incorporates people from diverse economic backgrounds:
   The mediation of social relations through money means a complete
   deterritorialisation of those relations.... The web of social
   relations in which the particular national states [or communities]
   are embedded is (and has been since the beginning of capitalism) a
   global web. (Holloway, 2002)

This 'web of social relations' has been ignored in the representation of South Africa's 'new social movements', not only by current writing, but also by the leadership layer who represent the movement to itself.

Instead of the representation of an interlocking web of social and power relations, the right to exercise power is expressed in terms of a continuum of whether you are inside or outside the movement. On one side of the continuum there are those who epitomize Mandela Park and its struggles, and on the other side, those who have nothing to do with Mandela Park. Those seen as leaders of the struggle are represented as speaking for the Mandela Park community, and, therefore, always have a mandate (power) to represent the MPAEC to the outside world. Those who are favoured by the leaders also gain an automatic mandate, while those who are viewed as a threat--either to the MPAEC or to the leadership of the MPAEC--are easy to ostracize and censor: they have no mandate to represent Mandela Park.

The understanding that the voice of those inside the struggle has some legitimacy, even if they are not from the same geographical and economic bracket, is not widespread in the MPAEC, or indeed in many of the community organizations affiliated to the WCAEC. This is particularly so if that voice is critical of developments and is not simply embracing/celebrating. There is a widespread belief that the worst victims of attacks by the state in a particular geographic community are the ones who know best how to deal with those attacks. The practical experience of activists from elsewhere is not widely valorized. The tactics and opportunities suggested by other struggles in other parts of the world do not form part of the thinking around strategy or new possibilities.

The existing power relations in the MPAEC do not only make 'outsiders' of those from outside the economic and geographic bracket of Mandela Park, but even of those who live in the geographic area of Mandela Park. Sometimes these power relations are simply a part of accepting a particular status quo, for example, patriarchy (as I have already discussed); at other times, notions of 'outsiderliness' are deliberately manipulated with the primary motives of exclusion--the power to exclude--and control. Below I will discuss some examples of how this power has been used by the MPAEC.


The MPAEC leadership can, and has, manipulated definitions of 'insider'/ 'outsider' in order to exercise and exert power over decision making, the work being done, and membership. Creating 'insiders' and 'outsiders' has served as a gate-keeping function to determine what activities you have a mandate to undertake or participate in, and how your input is valorized. For example, in an MPAEC Sunday mass meeting in October 2003, a researcher from the University of Cape Town was unable to conduct research in Mandela Park because he was flagged as an 'outsider' by the chair of the meeting. Although this researcher's exclusion was also a result of his own patronizing stupidity, his 'outsider' status was flagged in the meeting by sarcasm and 'inside' jokes about the researcher. In this instance, 'outsider' meant 'enemy': the researcher was viewed as someone who would come and take up the time and 'steal' the knowledge of MPAEC members, but who would contribute nothing to the struggles there.

If the chair of the meeting had, in contrast, welcomed the researcher as a comrade, the outcome of the meeting could have been quite different. So what seemed like a mass, democratic decision was, in fact, a set-up--everyone close to the leadership at that time, including myself, knew before the meeting started that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss whether or not we would give the researcher access, but rather to ridicule him. By October 2002 it had become almost impossible for 'outsiders' to get access to Mandela Park without first gaining 'permission' from the mass meeting--although the decisions about who was allowed access had already been made outside the mass meetings.

While the exclusion of this particular researcher was arguably in the best interests of the MPAEC, turning MPAEC members into 'outsiders' clearly does not serve the campaign.


The 'impimpisization' of the MPAEC had already started before Ntanyana was in jail. We knew we were being watched, and men claiming to be from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had questioned Ntanyana (and various activists from other movements were also questioned around their activities leading up to WSSD). A paranoid mood began to infect the MPAEC, and while there was real cause for concern, the representation of this question of 'impimpis' (informers) at MPAEC mass meetings was later used in the power struggles within the organization. Initially, those who spoke out against Ntanyana and Goboza, or anyone who tried to suggest other possibilities for action was isolated because they were said 'to have their own agenda', have 'no mandate' or, if they had handled funds, were simply accused of misappropriating those funds. Some were labelled an 'impimpi' or an 'NIA agent'. Rumour-mongering became one of the main activities of Mandela Park activists.

Fear and uncertainty caused by the very real state oppression fuelled the rhetoric. In a climate of oppression, organizations like the MPAEC become paranoid and feel an even more urgent need to pull together. Any deviation from the official line becomes more serious and the rhetoric of finding spies and 'helping the community' becomes conflated. The question of how to handle 'impimpis' was debated in mass meetings, as some people felt that it was impossible to find them and root them out and that the work of the campaign should continue without too much worry: 'Look, there's always going to be impimpis and you mustn't run away just because you hear about impimpis. In the old days too many people were burnt who shouldn't have been burnt because they were called impimpis' (KTC township activist, 2003, personal communication).

Others felt that finding the 'impimpis' and isolating them was central to the campaign. The representation of 'impimpis' in meetings was as if they were everywhere, whereas in reality, there were probably one or two. Anyone questioning the labelling of certain individuals as 'impimpis' also became questionable. Also members of the MPAEC who were clearly in support of the campaign were sometimes labelled 'impimpis'.

In a meeting held on 19 September 2002 to discuss Ntanyana's case after we had appeared in court, and after Goboza had been arrested and released that same day, there was a lot of talk about 'impimpis' and about those who were cooperating with the police--this was mainly because it was believed that someone pointed Goboza out to the police while we were inside the court supporting Ntanyana, and this led to Goboza's arrest. In the meeting, people were told that if they had been working with the police or giving the police information when asked questions that they should leave the meeting, as they would otherwise be dealt with. Accusations were levelled at a few women and a heated discussion followed: three women eventually left the meeting.

When I asked why these women are leaving the meeting the woman who was translating for me said: 'They are impimpis'. I asked what the evidence was that they were impimpis and the translator just shrugged and repeated: 'They are impimpis'. At the time I assumed that there must have been evidence presented in the meeting to show that these women were 'impimpis', although I found the whole thing very confusing. Later on, I again tried to establish why these women were considered to be 'impimpis', but no explanation was forthcoming.

The paranoia about 'impimpis' must be understood in a context where the operation of the police seems arbitrarily violent. Ntanyana has since twice been abducted by police in unmarked cars: anyone identified as oppositional to mainstream politics can be investigated by the NIA--this continues unabated even now (in January 2004 another of our comrades was approached by the NIA after he asked the Cape Town mayor difficult questions at a public meeting). Cases of police brutality are repeatedly reported, but the cases rarely go anywhere. The Internal Complaints Directorate (ICD), which handles police brutality cases is massively overloaded, and there is no concerted effort by government to deal with this issue. In a country that claims to be so democratic, there seem to be few limits on the extent to which the NIA can interfere in politics.

At the same time, the WCAEC has been openly defiant and has engaged in 'criminal' activities (such as burning tyres to prevent sheriffs entering an area) and therefore we are going to attract the attention of the police. We need to develop strategies around this that limit the ability of the police to target individuals, but not to indulge ourselves in useless paranoia, which serves to damage our campaigns more than anything that the 'impimpis' might have reported to the police. If we give into the exercise of power by the State and allow their activities to shape our organizations, we are actively disempowering ourselves and everyone else who is part of the movement.

Accusations about misappropriation of funds

I have already briefly discussed how accusations about the misappropriation of funds were used in an attempt to disable the former WCAEC treasurer, Peter van Heusden, and how demands that 'outside' activists provide funds were used to control their input. Similar strategies were used against some members of the MPAEC. In October 2002, Ntanyana, unhappy with the money that had been raised for his bail and lawyers within Mandela Park, called those who were handling the finances to account at a public meeting. However, two of these activists, Winnie and Neliswa, were not at the meeting and, therefore, could not give an account.

Feeling that they were being targeted, Winnie decided that her account of how money had been spent would not be accepted. I had already witnessed a number of power struggles between Winnie and leading male activists who insisted that women should stay behind in the office, while men should go out and do the work of the campaign. I also witnessed a key activist haranguing Winnie into handing over MPAEC funds for personal use.

On the one hand, Winnie had been repeatedly forced to pass over money to male activists who had not accounted for their spendings/ 'borrowings' and, on the other, she had already been represented in the mass meeting as dubious. Her ability to counter the allegations would have required her to have the power to challenge the existing representation--already being on the defensive--and to replace it with her own representation. The control of representation by the chair made it almost impossible to really air things, especially since the chair would have come under scrutiny in the counter-allegations and counter-representation. At this point, she left the campaign saying, 'I've had enough of the campaign. I don't want to be involved anymore'. The contribution that she made in terms of managing finances was not valorized and actually came to count against her. Neliswa also left the MPAEC at this time.

Other women activists were later acted against in a similar way when they questioned the control of the MPAEC, but they asked not to be mentioned in the article because they fear violent action might be taken against them. Accusations that some male activists were asking for money in order to assist community members in moving back into their houses were also circulated in mass meetings, in an attempt to isolate those activists. Even though the allegations were found to be false, these activists felt that they no longer wanted to work inside the parameters of the MPAEC.

Having your 'own agenda' with 'no mandate'
   Once one knows with whom it is important to check before a decision
   is made, and whose approval is the stamp of acceptance, one knows
   who is running things. (Freeman, 1970)

While the representation of the MPAEC to the outside world was of a mass struggle, the paranoid mood meant that the representation of the movement to itself shifted. The internal dynamics of representation became more and more tightly controlled.

Early in November 2002, after gunshots had been fired during an attempt to return an evicted person to their house, which had since been occupied by other people, I witnessed a heated argument in the MPAEC office between two leading activists. The one activist was concerned about the increasing level of violence that was becoming part of MPAEC activities and said that the aim should be to build the community, not go to war. The other activist said, 'we are already at war, Comrade, there's nothing we can do'.

Afterwards, the activist who had questioned the necessity of an increasing level of violence, wrote a letter to the local community newspaper expressing his concerns. He was then expelled from the MPAEC because he 'did not have a mandate' to write to the newspaper. This was the first expulsion of a 'core' activist from the MPAEC, and though I had often worked with Charles, I was not uncomfortable or unhappy about his expulsion: he had broken an unwritten code, giving the campaign bad publicity when we were already under attack. However, with the control of the mass meeting from the chair, there were not really any other avenues open for disputes to be discussed and resolved. No harm was actually done by the letter, and I am not now convinced that his expulsion was necessary.

The events already described in this section represent for me an increasing attack on autonomy, a shrinking of the mass nature of the MPAEC struggle, and a shrinking power base within the MPAEC. The attacks on activists did not stop there, but became more and more questionable.

For example, in January 2003 the fact that one community activist, known as 'Bin Laden', had gone to support struggles and share experiences in Vrygrond--another community under attack and facing evictions--was used to move against him and isolate him politically, because he had received 'no mandate' to do so from two key activists. This was despite the fact that these two activists were in hiding and, therefore, not available to discuss the situation at the time when it was decided that Bin Laden should go to Vrygrond. Bin Laden was further attacked for communicating via email with an American activist who had visited the area and with whom he had become friendly--not because of any political content of the email, but simply because he had 'no mandate' to send emails.

The control of representation and the power to represent an organization or campaign becomes about defining the boundaries of that organization or campaign: who is part of it, and who is not part of it? These boundaries can be altered and manipulated by slander and purging. Once someone was purged --legitimately or not--they were held to be 'outsiders' to the campaign, regardless of their geographic or economic status. Anything they said could then be represented within the movement as not being in the best interests of the movement. The result of the control of representation is that paranoia is emphasized, the silencing of dissenting voices gets amplified and 'loyalty'--rather than questioning whether the emperor, in fact, has any clothes--becomes key.

This rhetoric of 'impimpis' continues to infect the MPAEC structures, and while some of the accusations may be/are legitimate, many are unfounded. Numerous activists have now been purged, to the extent that only two of the people I once knew and worked with are currently still members of the MPAEC.


In writing this article it is not my intention to launch attacks on individual activists, though a critique of certain activists' actions has been necessary to highlight many of the issues which hamper the MPAEC and other similar organizations. In discussing the writing of this article, many activists have expressed to me their fears that openness and honesty about the problems could be damaging to our movements (by causing splits, giving the state ammunition against us, attacking people who are already under attack from the state, etc.). I believe that maintaining a facade that all is well, representing a 'pure' face of struggle is, in the end, more damaging: unless we are free to confront our troubles, our internal divisions, our complex social and power relations, these difficulties will continue to tear our struggle organizations and campaigns apart.

The techniques of control by a centralized and hierarchical 'old left' (of which the MPAEC is fairly characteristic) are not qualitatively much different from the mechanisms of control used by the state. Those of us who are seeking new methods have come under attack from these 'old left' notions of mandates, representation, discipline and control, and have been further attacked around questions of 'culture' and patriarchy. But we have kept on pretending, while our territory gets further eroded. Going public about the problems only gives the state ammunition in so far as they are able to exploit existing dynamics. If these dynamics were challenged, if our practice changes, if we do things differently, the state will not be able to exploit these cracks. Therefore, it is urgent that we tackle these issues seriously and work to close these gaps in practice.

In Cape Town struggle has become an island with its defenders turning on themselves--not a powerful flow, bursting the imprisoning walls, flooding into altogether new territories. The novelties of struggle created by the MPAEC have not moved in the direction of our dreams, possibilities have been blocked, and the massive potential that was speculated about has been stifled. While this article is itself a representation, I have attempted to talk about our struggles in a way that does not enclose or romanticize them, but rather exposes some of the relations of power within our movements. Having exposed these relations, 'what is now on the agenda is the much more demanding attack on power relations' (Holloway, 2002): in fact, an attack on the political culture that maintains existing power relations.


(1.) Term used by Deleuze and Guattari (1983). An aggregate of ideas or notions that appears as a fixed and complete object, yet hiding the parts and suppositions it is based on and made of, for example 'the working class'.

(2.) Mandela Park is an area of Khayelitsha: the houses there were built in the mid-to-late 1980s, under the former apartheid government. Since the apartheid government in Cape Town was not providing houses for 'black' people, various banks funded the building of these low-income houses. Mortgage bonds were given to the current occupants, but because the houses were not well built and incomplete, many occupants went on a bond boycott while they negotiated with the banks around construction issues. From then on, the occupants (organized by SANCO) of these houses also tried to negotiate with the government around these matters. When the ANC came to power in 1994, they hoped the new government would find a suitable solution to their problems. However, the solution offered (in the form a government/bank partnership called Servcon) favoured the banks evicting bond defaulters and moving them to smaller, even poorer quality houses elsewhere (called 'right-sizing').

The evictions started in 1999 and were met with resistance, which halted the evictions. However, the evictions started again after the 2000 elections, and have continued since then. In their pamphlet, 'Why are We Under Attack from the Government and the Banks?--Our Aims Are in the Interests of the People', the MPAEC explained: 'Vulnerable people were targeted--pensioners, the disabled, single mothers and so on. People would be told that they must pay. Their problems were not listened to. They were intimidated by the people from the Alliance [ANC/SACP/Cosatu]'. An estimated 15 people died when they were moved to the 'right-sized' houses, because of the poor quality of these houses, and because they were cut off from community support when they fell ill. In January 2001 the MPAEC was formed to resist the evictions: they boycotted council, banks, government offices, appealed to the Western Cape NEC for housing Nomatyala Hlangana to intervene. The resistance was met with arrests, interdicts, and bail conditions that attempt to censor and limit the activities of MPAEC activists.

(3.) The WCAEC is an organization of loosely-affiliated community organizations and individual activists involved in stopping evictions, water and electricity cutoffs, repossessions related to non-payment for these services and fighting privatization.

(4.) Slang, roughly translated as 'drunken louts'.

(5.) See, for example, my poem 'Watch Out Tonkin', against a Khayekitsha police captain who swore to 'take out every member of the Anti-Eviction Campaign one by one' (Pointer, 2002).

(6.) Grafitti on the wall of Andile Nose, the community hall from which the MPAEC operates.

(7.) According to an Interdict of 27 June 2002, the MPAEC, Max Ntanya, Fonky Goboza, Raymond Kholakala and Nceba Sithole may not: prevent evictions, persuade anyone else to prevent evictions, force someone out of their house, or persuade someone else to force someone out of their house, encourage someone to unlawfully occupy property owned by the banks listed on the interdict. Due to a case being laid out against these four members of the MPAEC, they now also have bail conditions that state that they may not: speak to crowds, communicate with people of the MPAEC or leave Khayelitsha without reporting to a police station. They also have to sign in at a police station three times a week.

(8.) For example, their occupation of the NBS (bank) branch in Cape Town city centre on 30 May 2002.

(9.) For example, a workshop held on 28 September 2002, specifically to talk about alternative forms of organizing.

(10.) See, for example, Cape Argus (2002) which discusses the anti-eviction activity in Lavender Hill: 'The violence prompted the council to ignore its agenda and spend hours discussing the eviction issue.... After a vote it was decided that no eviction should take place [from council housing] for seven days'. The moratorium was later extended to six months, and more than eighteen months later, council evictions have not started again.


CAPE ARGUS (2002) 'Eviction Protests Spark Fierce Council Debate', 26 September. URL (consulted December 2003): &click_id13&art_id=ct2002026114632172L1536950

CHARLES, Jeanne (1975) 'Arms and the Woman', Bureau of Public Secrets. URL (consulted December 2003):

DE ANGELIS, Massimo (1998) 'Limiting the Limitless: Global, Neoliberal Capital, New Internationalism and the Zapatistas' Voices'. URL (consulted December 2003):

DELEUZE, Gilles and Guattari, Felix (1983) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: The Athlone Press.

DESAI, Ashwin (2002) We are the Poors. Community Struggles in Post-Apartheid South Africa. New York: Monthly Review Press.

DESAI, Ashwin and Richard Pithouse (2004) '"But We Were Thousands": Dispossesion, Resistance, Repossession and Repression in Mandela Park', Journal of Asian and African Studies 39(4): 233-63.

FREEMAN, Jo (1970) 'The Tyranny of Structurelessness'. URL (consulted December 2003):

HARDT, Michael (2003) 'Affective Labour'. URL (consulted December 2003):

HOLLOWAY, John (2002) Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today. London: Pluto Press. URL (consulted December 2003): Change_The_World_Without_Taking_Power.htm

JOHNSON, Patricia E. (2001) Hidden Hands: Working-Class Women and Victorian Social-Problem Fiction. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. URL (consulted December 2003):

NTABAZALILA, Eric (2002) '"Champions of the Poor" Target Home-Owners,' Cape Times, 8 November. URL (consulted December 2003): click_id=13&art_id=vn200208061611720C228017

PITHOUSE, Richard (2001) 'The Aunties Revolt', The Sunday Tribune, 4 February. URL (consulted December 2003): mps/pages/In_The_News/2001/February/revolt.htm

PITHOUSE, Richard (2003) '"That the Tool Never Possess the Man": Taking Fanon's Humanism Seriously', Politikon 30(2): 107-31.

POINTER, Rebecca (2002) 'Watch Out Tonkin'. URL:

WEEKES, Anna (2003) 'The AEC Structure is Alive and Peter Represents Nobody', email to mailing list, 25 November.

ZIVKOVIC, Jelena (2003) Report from Khayelitsha. Paper presented to WCAEC, 12 September.

Rebecca Pointer is a Cape Town-based activist and writer who has worked with the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and affiliated communities since January 2001. From 1995 to the present she has worked for various NGOs as an editor, researcher and writer in the fields of adult literacy, economic literacy, health equity and municipal service delivery. Currently, she is involved in Cape Town Women's Activist Forum and the Cape Town IndyMedia collective. She has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University and is a published poet.

Address: 9 Albertyn Road, Muizenberg, 7945, Cape Town, South Africa. (

Rebecca Pointer, Former member of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, Cape Town, South Africa.
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Author:Pointer, Rebecca
Publication:Journal of Asian and African Studies
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Aug 1, 2004
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