The following is a recording of a session of the Peace in Kurdistan Ecology Network on South Africa and the resistance struggle of grassroots communities, held on 4 December 2022.

In this illuminating video, we explore the vibrant fabric of activism and solidarity movements across the African continent and beyond, spotlighting the indefatigable efforts of leaders like Marcus Solomon, Thokozane Kenneth Kunene, Zainulabideen Gaddafi, and S’bu Zikode. From the streets of South Africa to the heart of Swaziland, these individuals have been at the forefront of driving change, advocating for peace, democracy, and human rights amidst challenging conditions. Join us as we dive deep into their stories, uncovering the motivations behind their campaigns, the obstacles they’ve encountered, and the impacts they’ve made within their communities and on the international stage. Don’t forget to subscribe for more content exploring the power of grassroots movements and the indomitable spirit of those who strive to make the world a better place.

Moderators: Mahmoud Patel: Legal scholar, academic, and human rights activist. Mahmoud Patel is the Chairperson of the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group in South Africa.

Sameer Kasker: Law Lecturer with a Doctorate in Law on International Environmental Law, with a focus on International Water Law and sustainable development and management of water. Additionally, he is a specialist in Global Environmental Governance.


Zainulabideen Gaddafi is the Co-ordinator of the Zakzaky Foundation (Resistance media and community development), and project co-ordinator of the Mawaddah food Garden. He is the Founder of the Kensington 9/5 Food drive (weekly hotmeal feeding, weekly food packs, food parcels, toiletry packs, basic emergency relief). Zainulabideen is Director of Holistic Organised Path to Excellence (HOPE) (Youth rehabilitation and integration, anti-gang, and anti-drug activism) and a Deputy Chairperson, Kensington Neighbourhood Watch (Patrols, safety assistance).

Nonhle Mbuthuma is a Human Rights Defender who fights for land and environmental rights in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. In 2007, Nonhle founded the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) to unite community members in five villages of the Amadiba Tribal Authority region to work together in opposition to destructive mining projects. She took part in the forming of this structure at the traditional community court Umgungundlovu Komkhulu (Great Place) in Xolobeni on the Wild Coast in August 2007. She is now the most visible leader of the campaign against the Australian corporation Mineral Commodities Mineral Ltd (MRC). A crucial link between the indigenous community and the ACC’s legal team, Nonhle also engages the community in farming and food security workshops and has launched such projects in local schools. Due to her work rejecting mining and promoting alternative means of economic development, Nonhle has been slandered as “anti-development.” In 2008, Nonhle survived an assassination attempt. In the past years, Nonhle has been reported to have received constant death threats and warnings, which have escalated since 2015 when the entire coastal community organised itself against an open-cast mine planned for the Amadiba coast. Nonhle calls herself a Human Rights Defender, whose demand is for land and environmental rights to make sure that the next generation will live in a safe environment.

S’bu Zikode is the founding President of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA. (Shack dwellers’ movement). S’bu has strongly campaigned for the Right to Housing under the theme ‘Housing is a Human Right.’ His calling includes safe and dignified housing for all in our cities. Under his leadership Abahlali membership has exceeded 100 000, making it the biggest social movement of the impoverished to have imaged in post-apartheid South Africa. Zikode is the Swedish government global winner of the Per Anger Prize 2021. This prize is awarded by the Swedish government to individuals and organisations in recognition of initiatives of democracy and human rights.


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