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As the final whistle blows…Aluta Continua!

12 Jul

On Sunday night (11 July 2010) in a spectacular closing ceremony, and somewhat less spectacular final game, the World Cup drew to a close. The event, which took over South Africa’s every waking moment, showed that despite all the doubts and pessimism that dominated public discourse worldwide about our abilities we made this an unforgettable World Cup.

Unsurprisingly, as the end approached many South Africans were left chewing over the question of what comes after the World Cup, and how we can learn lessons from the last month to take us forward as a nation. Here at the Red Card Campaign headquarters we’re also taking stock of the past month and what it’s meant: while we’ve kept things updated on this blog, the real success of the campaign has been its reach from rural and urban communities across South Africa, to protest marches in Germany, to intense dialogue between different sectors of society. In five weeks we’ve had 4,000 blog hits, 900 ‘listens’ to the Officially Offside album online, exceptional panels, films and exhibitions at the People’s Justice Fan Centre, media coverage ranging from Der Spiegel to the Mail and Guardian to Al Jazeera, not to mention a reparations workshop and a march by the groups from Indwe and the East Rand.

As we contemplate the future for South Africa post-World Cup fever, we’re also exploring the various avenues the Red Card Campaign can take after our intensive launch period. What we will definitely be doing is keeping this blog up-to-date with the latest news about the South Africa apartheid litigation; ongoing struggles for reparations and redress for the Khulumani victims and survivors; and the broader global struggle for justice and corporate accountability. We’ll also be promoting the Officially Offside CD, and holding events around the country to keep the momentum going!

So long World Cup…Aluta Continua Red Card Campaign!


Spotlight on Activism Through Film – Clarity Films and Active Voice

9 Jul

As mentioned in a previous post about the activities at the People’s Justice Fan Centre, we recently screened two of the seven-part documentary series Have You Heard from Johannesburg. Just as we have embraced the arts such as Hip Hop – see our Music 4 Justice project and Officially Offside album – so we have been lucky to connect with like-minded organisations and creative people using fim, theatre, arts and music to further the cause of global justice.

One organisation doing just that is Connie Field’s production company Clarity Films who describe their mission as follows: “to encourage a re-examination of our past to better inform social progress in our future and to stimulate thought provoking discussion around issues of major social concern in today’s society.” Clarity Films has worked closely with Active Voice, a multimedia company that tries to bring public policy issues to public attention through putting a human face on the issues. Together these two companies have tried to use the moment of the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from jail to shine a spotlight onto the global struggle to overcome apartheid – highlighting the many untold stories of how the world united to put an end to the horrific oppression of the former regime. If you would like to get involved in their campaign, or find a way to get hold of the films for your own screenings, check out the campaign website here.

As these films look back at the success of the world uniting against apartheid, we look forward to galvanising similar global solidarity to stand up to the corporate abuses that continue to go unchecked worldwide. 30 years ago global public opinion forced many companies to leave South Africa pushing the apartheid government closer to negotiations. Today we say that giving up making a profit off the lives and abuses of South Africans was the first step in a broader process of reparations and acknowledgement for their involvement.

The Global Struggle for Post-Apartheid Justice in Context

7 Jul

A lot of the events being held at the People’s Justice Fan Centre are aimed at putting the Khulumani Apartheid litigation into the context of post-Apartheid South Africa, global struggles for corporate accountability and the importance of reparations for survivors of gross human rights violations. This week we’ve used films and panels to explore the broader context of sport and global involvement in the movement against apartheid.

Today, we screened the excellent film Have You Heard from Johannesburg: The Bottom Line at the People’s Justice Fan Centre. This film is part of a seven-film series of documentaries about key issues in the anti-apartheid struggle. The films were directed by Connie Field and produced by her production company Clarity Films. The Bottom Line takes an in-depth look into the efficacy of economic sanctions, and as the TimeOut London says: “offers a clear and rousing study of how economic sanctions, initated by grassroots protests, can have a significant political effect – especially when the boards of corporations find themselves in a forced position of embarrassment.” The Have You Heard from Johannesburg series more broadly tries to capture what Prof. Rob Nixon described as follows: “No other post-WW II struggle for decolonization has been so fully globalized; no other has magnetized so many people across such various national divides, or imbued them with such a resilient sense of common cause as did the struggle for democracy in South Africa.” Following the screening Khulumani community organiser Reginald Mafu and national director Marje Jobson went to the Apartheid Museum where they were involved in an interview with Al-Jazeera News Network that went out live across the world. Some pre-recorded interviews with Khulumani victims have also been made available.

Staying with the global themes raised in the film screened today, the Peoples Justice Fan Centre in Jabavu, Soweto, has a stellar line-up for Friday. The day starts at 09:30am with the screening of another part of the Have You Heard From Johannesburg series: Fair Play, which focusses on the role of sport and specifically the sport boycotts in the struggle against apartheid. The screening will be followed by a roundtable discussion which will include contributions from Smiley Moosa (a football player who had to hide his race to play); Nkosi Molala (a Pretoria Callies footballer and Black Consciousness activist who was imprisoned on Robben Island and lost an eye during an altercation with apartheid police); John Soske (an academic studying the contribution of Dr. Abu Asvat to non-racial sport); Teery Jeevanantham (a former football player and active writer on football issues); Haroun Mohammed (football player who was expelled from the Teachers’ Training College for his political activities); and Ms. Tapuwa Moore (a gender activist and coach for the Forum for the Empowerment of Women football team).

The panel’s focus will be “Football, Sport, Memory and Apartheid” and will be moderated by Desiree Ellis (former Banyana Banyana – South African national women’s football team) and Hassen Lorgat.

These films and panel reinforce the importance of global movement for justice, something we at the Red Card Campaign hope to further by creating a global movement for justice and corporate accountability.

People’s Justice Fan Centre

Friday, 09 July

Film Screening @ 9:30am

Roundtable discussion @ 10:15am

Ms Desiree Ellis and Mr Hassen Lorgat will moderate the forum. (Desiree Ellis is a former Banyana Banyana player.)

Daimler and the Apartheid Lawsuit (updated)

15 Jun

Updated: In April 2010 Mr. Mpho Masemola a Khulumani member and one of the named plaintiffs in the case against Daimler, GM, IBM, Ford and Rheinmettal went to Germany to address the 5,000-strong annual Daimler AG shareholders meeting. There Mpho pointed out the complicity of Daimler with the apartheid government, and called for their engagement and dialogue with victims and survivors to ensure acknowledgement and reparations. The Daimler CEO Mr. Dieter Zetsche responded that they would never speak to victims and has nothing to answer for. Responses like this from these corporations is what lies behind the Red Card Campaign to expose corporate lies and demand accountability. Mpho’s appearance at the Daimler AGM ignited interest across Germany and in part led to the article linked to below.


We’ve just had an update from our German campaign partners that the article in the major German newspaper Der Spiegel that was published last week has now been re-published in english. The article focuses on Daimler’s current sponsoring of the German football team, their previous involvement with the apartheid government, and Khulumani’s campaign to hold them accountable through public pressure and the courts.

Here’s one snippet of the article:

When it comes to Daimler, says Jobson, who is exhausted after the long, tedious search for evidence, the case is relatively clear. The United Nations classified apartheid as a crime against humanity as long ago as 1965. Nevertheless, Daimler continued to do business with South Africa, and even after the 1977 UN weapons embargo, the company supplied the regime with at least 2,500 Unimogs. Because these Unimogs were used to strengthen the police and security forces, Jobson says that Daimler aided and abetted serious human rights violations.

If companies truly have a moral responsibility, says Jobson, shouldn’t at least a portion of the profits they earned in South Africa at the time be turned over to those who suffered the most from apartheid?

In the complaint, Hausfeld [Khulumani’s lawyer] attempted to demonstrate that Daimler, for example, had deliberately circumvented the arms embargo. Its vehicles were used by the government in its efforts to control the black homelands and townships and, according to the complaint, Daimler supplied spare parts and equipped the South African police and military with models like its Minibus and Unimog. Using the Unimog and other Mercedes parts, South Africa built its armored personnel carriers, the Buffel, Casspir and Hippo.

The complaint cites an article from the German magazine Wehrtechnik (Military Technology), which describes the Unimog as a small military transporter and quotes a Daimler employee who, after visiting the Mercedes-Benz subsidiary in South Africa in 1988, said at a shareholders’ meeting that he had seen warehouses during his visit where parts for the Buffel were kept in storage. The Buffel, the employee added, was used by the South African government in its war against Angola, as well as in the occupation and control of urban black neighborhoods.

Credit Suisse Bank sponsored apartheid and the Swiss National Team!

14 Jun

On 10 June the Swiss newspaper WOZ published a series of articles about the support Switzerland and Swiss companies showed the apartheid government. The reports focussed on Credit Suisse who are current sponsors of the Swiss National team to South Africa. As the article comments, the Swiss people are unaware of the extent to which Swiss banks such as UBS and Credit Suisse collaborated with the apartheid government through loans and other mechanisms.

Here’s their image of “Apart-Heidi” which accompanied the article – which you can find here

Music 4 Justice

8 Jun

As part of the movement to demand justice musicians and hip hop artists from around the world have joined forces to support the Khulumani Support Group and its campaign for corporate accountability. We’ll be adding their songs and giving updates about their activities on the Music 4 Justice page – so check that out for your dose of Hip Hop activism!

A BIG thank you to the guys on the ground who have been driving this part of the campaign! Watch this space for details of the CD Launch this Friday…

One of the key organisations helping out with the music is NomadicWax an African-focussed hip hop and social activism record label. Check out this BBC article about the label and some of its other work.

Here’s a sneak-peek of some of the international artists that have contributed to the album:

– Italian Hip Hop artists Zero Plastica and El V and the Gardenhouse

– US Hip Hop artist Zee Santiago

– Ugandan Hip Hop activist Babaluku

All this alongside fantastic SA musicians from across the country…

Join the movement. Listen to the music. Take action to demand corporate accountability.

Flashmobs for Justice!

8 Jun

Our campaign partners in Germany are kicking up a storm in the week running up to their first major protest on June 13 (the same time as Germany’s first game!). The German campaign will be using flashmobs to specifically target Daimler – the German auto-manufacturer that helped to manufacture the infamous security vehicles from which SADF security forces shot and killed, arrested and tracked black South Africans during apartheid.

Check out this video of their activities – it’s in German but a short description can be found just below:

“In the beginning the activists discuss the problem: that Daimler is the sponsor of the German national team for the World Cup in South Africa, but have never acknowledged or been held accountable for the damage they helped to do to thousands of South Africans by supporting the apartheid security forces! The activists are very upset because of this. They say it’s shameful for Germany, because the company was involved in Apartheid crimes. Then the idea comes up to go to the Daimler shops and offices to show their displeasure in public and finally they mobilize people across the country to do the same on June, 13, the first game of the German team.”

Let’s join these German activists to say NO to Daimler getting away with aiding and abetting apartheid crimes!