by Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, Mark Weber
Chicago, Illinois, United States
May 9, 1990
Publisher: Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa
2 pages
Type: Press Release
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The press release says on April 6, 1990, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution establishing a "Sister Community" relationship between the City of Chicago and the township of Alexandra, South Africa; the people of Alexandra requested the formation of such a relationship between the two communities, through the Alexandra Civic Organization (ACO), in coordination with the United States-South Africa Sister City Project; the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa (CCISSA) coordinated the project here in Chicago. The press release says Alderman Jesus Garcia sponsored a resolution in City Council to establish the relationship, with Aldermen Danny Davis, David Orr, and Bobby Rush as cosponsors; over 30 church and community organizations endorsed the resolution; Ald. Garcia presented it to the Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs, which held hearings on April 3rd, chaired by Ald. Roman Pucinski; the hearings included testimony from a wide range of supporters, including representatives of religious groups, organized labor, the Mozambique Support Network, and TransAfrica; Rev. Zolani Ngwane, a former resident of Alexandra, presented moving testimony on the conditions within Alexandra, the oppression of the government policies, and the activities of the popular movements, including the ACO; the Committee, which included Alderpersons Robert Shaw, Ed Smith, and Helen Shiller, passed the resolution with no opposition. The press release says immediately prior to the full City Council meeting on April 6th, a press conference was held at City Hall, which included a conference telephone hookup with Moses Mayekiso, a labor activist and chairperson of ACO; Mr. Mayekiso spoke to the press and gathered supporters on the role of the ACO, its gratitude for the support offered by the resolution, and its hope that the relationship with Chicago would strengthen its efforts; Ald. Garcia and other supporters assured Mr. Mayekiso that the people of Chicago were in solidarity with the people of Alexandra in their struggle for justice and decent housing; the resolution consequently passed unanimously in the City Council. The press release says the township of Alexandra is the oldest black residential area near the city of Johannesburg, and has been a locus of resistance to apartheid policies over the years; Alexandra residents organized to resist removals in the 1970's and a "town council" imposed on them by the government in the 1980's; presently, the government is moving activists out of the community through harassment and detention, and encouraging white developers to build expensive housing in the township. The press release says the Alexandra Civic Organization (ACO) was formed in 1982 as a grassroots movement to struggle against the government policies of oppression and forced removal; the ACO has begun an "Affordable Housing for All" campaign to struggle against the planned removal of current residents, and to force the government to subsidize the expansion of low-cost housing, as well as to improve the quality of community services; through the sister-community relationship, the City of Chicago has given concrete political recognition to the ACO as a legitimate representative organization of the people of Alexandra. The press release says for more information contact Mark Weber.
Used by permission of former members of the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers