Advocating for workers rights

In May we focus on workers and the role they played in fighting for human rights and social justice. The South African working class has been at the forefront of the struggle for a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist nation. We draw awareness to the many challenges that still confront the working class and highlight the importance of all workers being treated with mutual respect, justice and equality.

We feature the Sarva Dharma Ashram in Welbedacht, Chatsworth and look at the sterling work it has done and the impact it has had on the community. Here we call on people to volunteer their services. Gandhiji did say that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. We are living in the midst of greater unemployment, rising cost of living and poverty. In this edition of Satyagraha we also look at the impact of the Eskom power cuts on the South African economy. We bear huge responsibilities but we need to rise above these challenges.

We pay tribute to anti-apartheid Campaigner – Rick Turner, this year is his 30th Death Anniversary. We also address the issue of violence in South African schools, which has been under the spotlight. We look at the contributing factors and the extent and nature of crime and violence in schools. We also feature an article written by an American with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) who was working in Zimbabwe in the lead-up to the election. When he tried to leave the country April 3, he was arrested and interrogated by Zimbabwean authorities; he was released after six days of detention and interrogated for 22 hours. He provides a detailed account of his experience. This story brings to the fore the importance ofan independent media and freedom of expression. 

We once again look at the road name changes in Durban – this month we focus on NMR Avenue in Durban which is now known as Masabalala Yengwa Avenue and look at Yengwa’s contribution in shaping the political history of South Africa.  For these changes in the names of roads to be effective we need to know the history of the person after whom the road is being named.  This creates greater awareness and appreciation for the changes.
Despite many significant achievements in South Africa poverty, unemployment and under-development remain the starkest legacy of apartheid. These are some of the greatest challenges facing our people. As we join with the peoples of the world to celebrate Workers' Day, let us be mindful that we in South Africa do not face poverty, economic inequality and under-development alone. Many throughout the world continue to struggle and one way of meeting these challenges is to build partnerships across all sectors of society, specifically between government, labour, business and communities.

While important advances have been made, much more needs to be achieved, particularly to improve the lives of the working people, the unemployed and the poor. It is also a day when we should critically assess the state of government programmes in relation to the various sectors of our society. Let us also remind ourselves of the significant challenges that relates to our working environment today – the wage gap, food and petrol prices, poverty and unemployment. Workers’ Day is a time when we have to contemplate the gains that we have made and consider the challenges that face us. On this day, we not only reflect on our own struggles, but let us connect with the workers of the world as a collective.