27 March 2017

Right to Humanity

Constitutional Hill has kept the prisons of the past as reminders of the indignity suffered at the height of apartheid. Visitors to the Women's Jail can listen to former inmates describe the conditions they once endured. In retelling their stories they allow others to say "me too, I suffered" and in turn inspire a call for basic human. The bravery of former inmates like anti-apartheid struggle activists Fatima Meer and Albertina Sisulu in speaking about the indignities they suffered continues today by reminding us that the struggles for human rights is a continuous process and is not yet done.

Recently South African's have been captivated by the story of the Quantum minibus taxi rape survivor in Soweto, Johannesburg . In choosing to speak about the indignity she suffered, she empowered other women to seek justice. Not everyone can be this brave, nor should they have to be to have their rights protected.

Currently the Women's Jail is hosting a SAHA exhibition, Women Hold Up Half the Sky, commemorating the contributions of women not only to their own struggle for equality but also to the empowerment of the marginalised in general. it serves as a reminder that in speaking for human rights we speak not only for ourselves but for the rights of others.  

South Africa today has a robust constitution but even so the Constitutional Court still faces dilemmas in providing for human rights. The grants crisis and the decision to allow Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) to continue paying grants went against the Con Court judgement of four years ago, but dissalowing its continuation would have resulted in millions of South African's no longer having access to their main source of income resulting in their inability to live lives of dignity and equality.   

On Sunday, 26 March 2017 the SAHA team, with their friends and family participated in the We the People Walk at Constitutional Hill where we walked for the basic human rights of dignity and equality. The struggle for social justice and human rights are still ongoing, and calls for a renewed spirit of activism and mobilisation from South Africans.