Thapelo Mohapi loves listening to jazz and supporting his favourite football teams. But since 2021 he has been in hiding because of threats to his life. He is being targeted because he is a leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a grassroots movement working to improve the lives of people in South Africa, including eKhenana – a community which suffers from many challenges, including economic insecurity, lack of access to adequate housing and police brutality. In 2022 alone, three AbM members were killed in eKhenana.
Demand an investigation into
harassment and killings of activists
Write to the South African Minister of Police and demand a thorough, impartial, independent, transparent and effective investigation into the harassment and killings of AbM members, bringing suspected perpetrators to justice in fair trials and an end to the attacks against AbM members.
As general secretary of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a vibrant and courageous grassroots movement, Thapelo has dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of people across South Africa, particularly in areas suffering economic hardship.
One such place is eKhenana, in the province of KwaZuluNatal. Most residents are economic migrants from rural South Africa who have moved to seek a better life. They cannot afford the high costs of living in the area and often end up making homes from tin, with little to no access to water or sanitation. They also face police brutality, forced evictions and poor public services, amongst many other challenges.
For me to free myself is to speak outThapelo Mohapi
Determined to improve lives in the community, AbM members in eKhenana have spoken out against cases of local government corruption and worked hard to improve life in their community by starting a school, farm, communal kitchen and shop. In return, they have been met with not just resistance but threats, harassment and intimidation from state officials who have incited violence against them. They have been victims of attempted and actual murders, violence, harassment, and damage to their homes. In 2022 alone, three AbM members were killed in eKhenana.