Forum Südliches Afrika, 26. April 2018

Struggles against Exploitation

Churches and Unions in Apartheid- and Postapartheid South Africa

Vortrag von Bischof Jo Seoka, Pretoria
in der SADOCC-Bibliothek um 19 Uhr,
Favoritenstraße 38/18/1
A-1040 Wien

U1 Taubstummengasse,

13A Belvederegasse

The talk will trace the role of the union’s formation to protect the welfare of the workers and the church’s involvement in supporting their struggle against exploitation and to promote the rights of workers. Reference will be made to how Apartheid regime sought to undermine black workers through migratory labour system which separated men from their families who went to work in the mines and factories of Johannesburg, Gauteng (the place of gold). The role of the church in support of human dignity and rights of workers will be central in the discourse.
The second part will focus on the churches’ role in the new dispensation and how the new government took advantage of the BEE program at the expense of the workers and worked towards self-enrichment. I will also talk about the role of the church leaders in advancing the struggle for the living wage, protection of the environment and improved healthy living conditions, with reference to Marikana.

Jo Seoka was the first black bishop in the capital of Postapartheid South Africa. He is the former Anglican Bishop of Pretoria and a political and social justice activist. His major ministry has been to the workers since his student days. He was the first church leader to visit the striking miners of Lonmin and has supported the Marikana strikers since the day of the massacre. It is said that he was the last person to speak with Mambushi Noki, „the man in the green blanket“, who asked, „Bishop where are you? They are shooting us!“ – before he was shot dead along with 33 other striking miners on 16 August 2012.