THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index
, Back to SASF Index

SASF kicks off
October 13, 2005

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - The Southern African Social Forum in Zimbabwe kicked off with enthusiastic speeches, solidarity messages from all over the southern African region, and cheerful slogans and songs. Trevor Ngwane from the Anti-Privatisation Forum in Gauteng started out with a wish that the Forum would provide a space for activists from the whole southern region to develop their struggle against capitalism, and he was pleased to see COSATU at the Forum, as he hoped labour and communities could join together in struggle back home in South Africa. In the end, he repeated the Social Forum slogan that Another world is possible!

Zimbabwean Lucy Matibenga, president of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council, welcomed all the delegates from the region to Harare in Zimbabwe. She spoke of how globalization was wreaking havoc in people’s everyday lives, and she accused African governments of ‘going to bed with’ the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank. The Structural Adjustment Programmes imposed by these institutions cause unemployment and retrenchments in the public sector, which are issues of great concern for the labour movement.

The opening rally set the tone and the agenda of the Forum. Calls for unity across borders and regional solidarity with national struggles were common amongst the speakers. To use the Forum as an opportunity to work towards real alternatives was another main point often made. The Forum should not be just a space for sharing experiences, but should inspire to developing programmes of action and strategies on how to build an alternative world. While all the organisations and NGOs taking part in the Forum are not very political or have a political vision, a socialist society was one common alternative presented by the speakers and supported by many delegates.

Thousands of people from NGOs, social movements, trade unions and political organisations have gathered and are prepared to brave the heat of Zimbabwe, and will spend the next few days discussing and planning an alternative southern Africa. Watch this space for upcoming reports!

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.