Abahlali choir dedicates music to shack dwellers

Bishop Rubin Phillip hopes the choir group destroys all forms of oppression.

The Abahlali Women’s Choral Group has launched its first album to demonstrate their struggle for land occupation, decent housing and dignity in Mayville.

Umbutho wabahlali chairman of the province, Mqapheli Bonono, said the launch which was held at the Cato Crest Sports ground recently, was attended by Ward 101 councillor, Muzimuzi Mkhipheni Ngiba, and Bishop Rubin Phillip.

Bishop Phillip said the choral group hopes to strengthen the solidarity between movements and destroy all forms of oppression.  Bonono said Abahlali resisted serious repression from the eThekwini Municipality and the ANC in which several comrades were injured and murdered in 2013.

“Women were beaten, tortured, arrested and killed at the hands of the police and politicians in the forefront struggle for land and decent housing,” he said.

He said that Thembinkosi Qumbela, Nkululeko Gwala and Nqobile Nzuza were murdered by police.  “Women formed a choir to express their sorrow and transformed the choir into power,” Bonono said.

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“Their songs are mainly about the struggle and praising Abahlali and ubuhlali. They promote ubuhlali and salute Abahlali,” Bonono added.

The councillor said that it is important for the municipality to work with the choir and give support where necessary.
Cllr Ngiba said that Cato Crest must remain united and negotiate a settlement with the government to avoid strikes.
He said, “It was the first time I met with the Abahlali Choral Group and their launch was good. If they raise any issue in Cato Crest, I will be prepared to work with them.”

Choir master, Thandi Ngcobo, hopes for the choir to gain support from businesses so that it can take its music on a national tour.

She said music and creativity have been vital to sustain struggle even in times of state repression. “The songs on the album are dedicated to all shack dwellers and all impoverished and marginalised people. We hope that struggling communities throughout the globe can draw strength from our experience,” Ngcobo said.

She said, “We have invited all progressive people’s movements, comrades, activists, church leaders, friends, families and individuals to join us.” Ngcobo added that the message of the choir seeks to promote politics which are grounded in real day to day lives of ordinary people.

  AUTHOR
Anele Nduzulwana

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