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Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM)

Challenging class oppression, power, and privilege

Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM)
South Africa | Founded in 2005 | Thousand Currents Partner since 2020

Abahlali baseMjondolo is a democratic social movement of shack dwellers and the poor in South Africa, fighting for land, housing, and dignity by mobilizing landless people and building power from below. Abahlali baseMjondolo’s work seeks to challenge the class oppression in post-apartheid South Africa under the country’s continued and consolidated capitalist system.

Founded by 14 communities in 2005 after a land occupation and road blockade in an area known as the Kennedy Road shack settlement,  the movement is now made up of 70 community chapters with a total membership of approximately 75,000 people living in the provinces of KwaZulu Natal, Guateng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. 

Abahlali baseMjondolo has 3 strategies that guide its movement work: 

  • Political: resistance  and organizing to build the power from below 
  • Media: exposing corruption, injustices, and informing the public on Abahlali baseMjondolo’s work 
  • Litigation: defending members and communities from unjust policies and laws

In addition to land and housing, Abahlali baseMjondolo also does work to resist xenophobic violence against members of its communities and across South Africa. The activism of Abahlali baseMjondolo challenges power and privilege, and is often met with violent backlash, death threats, and assassinations.