“MK”, a member of the ZACF’s underground structures in Swaziland was among eight Swaziland youth congress (SWAYOCO) members arrested by police following a SWAYOCO demonstration in the city of Manzini on Saturday, October 1st. The SWAYOCO demonstration was to protest against King Sobhuza II’s autocratic decree of 1973 that outlawed all pro-democratic political activity in this, Africa’s last remaining “white” (monarchist) dictatorship. Today Sobhuza’s successor, King Mswati III, presides over one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rates, in a country where for people to draw water from a stream without permission is a crime – while he continues to splurge millions of rands on a private jet, swan around in a r2-million luxury Maybach vehicle and a string of palaces, and kidnap schoolgirls as his brides.
Over the past two years, the ZACF has established a presence in Swaziland as the only grassroots revolutionary organisation pushing for the overthrow of the king and of the british-south african extractive capitalism he supports.
Working within and outside of SWAYOCO, the ZACF has popularised anarchist class struggle ideas among politically-conscious youth. Countering Saturday’s SWAYOCO demonstration in which the ZACF participated, the royal Swazi police fired warning shots and in the resulting chaos, arrested “MK” and seven SWAYOCO comrades. Last month, however, the shoe was on the other foot, when an armoured police “hippo” that wandered into comrade-controlled territory found itself stoned and petrol-bombed.
“MK” and his seven comrades have apparently been charged with “disturbing the peace” – a charge that was of course not levelled at the police who started the shooting. “MK” was visited in the “Zakhele Detention Centre” in Manzini last night (10/04/05). He is in high spirits, but is an ill man and is not able to take his regular medication. Bail has been set at r1,500 by the state, but civic organisations are trying to get the bail reduced to r500 – still a huge sum in this extremely poor southern African country.
MI & MD,
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation,
South Africa & Swaziland