*The following post is based on a video that my colleagues and I- at the 2013 School of Authentic Journalism produced- which we released today*
In 1985, in one of Africa’s most beautiful countries, but with arguably one of the ugliest histories ever recorded, Mkhuseli ‘Khusta’ Jack waged a war against a government devoid of humanity, a government that did not see anything wrong with segregating the majority of its population or deliberately keeping them rooted in poverty because they were black. Young and energetic, Khusta led an economic boycott of downtown white-owned businesses in Port Elizabeth to leverage black people’s demands for better treatment -humane treatment by the apartheid government of South Africa.
In the dizzying heights of Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2000, Oscar Olivera together with others waged a popular resistance that came to be known as the Cochabamba Water Wars- a struggle against the privatisation of Bolivia’s water; including its rain water.
Both men mobilised, they rallied their people to take a stand, they stood their ground. They took a risk; their activities were daring, after all they were dealing with life and death matters. But what choice did they have? Was a life without water a choice? Was a life without freedom, dignity and justice a choice? And so they sacrificed; not only their time and energy but their lives; and they both won. Two heroes. Two histories. Two continents. Two lands. One Story. One common thread- civil resistance- a testimony of the strength of strategic organising and community mobilisation.
Here is their story …