ALEXANDRA FACT SHEET

by Chicago-Alexandra Support Committee, Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Undated, 1990?
Publisher: Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa
2 pages
Type: Report
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents: Conditions in Alexandra • Local resistance and the Affordable Housing Campaign • Current government tactics: detentions and removals • The Alexandra Civic Organization and the Affordable Housing Campaign • A Sister-Community Relationship with Chicago • For Further Information • The report says founded in 1912, the same year as the founding of the African National Congress, Alexandra is one of the poorest and oldest townships in South Africa; it is located next to Johannesburg's most affluent white suburb which, along with the community's militant resistant to apartheid laws, make it a target of government efforts to remove or radically reshape it; Alexandra is, in fact, at the top of a list of thirteen "oil spots" -- the name the government gives to sources of support for the revolutionary movement. It is one of the ANC's strongest areas of support. The report says Alexandra today, as in the past, is polluted, unpaved and overcrowded, with some 200,000 people crammed into one kilometer of land; apartheid has created unlivable conditions, and over the years, the government has used those same conditions in an attempt to remove the community as a black spot. The report says the people of Alexandra were deeply involved in the June, 1976 Soweto uprising, a critical stage in the development of black political power, but also a tactical turning point in the government's campaign to remove or reshape Alexandra; in 1980, the government attempted to impose a "community council", but the residents refused to be taken in by this facade of "self-governance"; in 1983, the government answered with the imposition of a "town council"; once again Alexandra people boycotted local elections. The report says the government's tactics now are to move the activists out of the community by detaining them without trial for extended periods of time, while simultaneously trying to create a "new community" free of the conditions that have made Alexandra a major trouble spot. The report says the Alexandra Civic Organization (ACO) was formed in 1982, and spearheads organized resistance to the government; its president is Moses Mayekiso, the same union leader (he is general secretary of the South African Mineworkers Union, one of the largest unions in South Africa); one of ACO's major goals is to force the government to grant Alexandra more land -- not for high-cost developments, but rather to expand low-income housing. The report says the Alexandra Civic Organization has requested assistance from Chicago, as part of the broader United States - South Africa Sister Community Project, which has established linkages between six U.S. cities and South African communities threatened with removal; a Chicago-Alexandra Support Committee, sponsored by CCISSA (the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa), has been formed to facilitate the sister-community relationship. The document discusses rent tied to income, the United Democratic Front (UDF), Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Black Sash, Joan Gerig, and Synapses. [Note: Mayekiso was general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).]
Used by permission of former members of the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers