The Mandela Park Back-Yarders is a voluntary nonprofit citizens rights group working for housing rights and against evictions in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha. It is an unfunded community group made up entirely of affect residents and representing the most vulnerable individuals and families living in Mandela Park. We focus on providing legal support for residents, conducting workshops and democratic discussions about housing issues, as well as helping build the community’s negotiation power vis-a-vis housing and other government officials.
The Back-Yarders were formed in order to fight injustice imposed on the voiceless by creating an improved platform for communication between socialists, other radical groups and backyarders across South Africa.
This group focuses on the struggles and development issues in Ward 97.
- To raise awareness to all communities about neo-liberal system that has brought misery in our lives.
- To discuss and build our own grassroots theories relating to democracy and socialism
- To build a community-led and community-level radical consciousness (a University of the Poor)
- To organise From Below and to the Left
- To help build a radical culture that is anti-Capitalist and anti-Authoritarian within our communities
- To involve as many communities in the struggle so that we realise that we can build our own adequate houses rather than settle for inadequate and outsourced government houses we see today. Further, we seek to ensure that all issues of development are done in a participatory manner.
- To press the government to listen to poor people and our own solutions rather than government forcing people to obey its decisions.
How Decisions are made: Mandela Park Back-Yarders, as socialist movement, takes democracy and its principles very seriously. This means all our activities are planned and finalised in open mass meetings with all members invited. We do not have a hierarchical structure or ‘organogram’; instead we support all round year committee that is re-elected by the community at the end of each term in order to allow other members of the movement to gain organisational skills, leadership experience, e.t.c.
The main objective of this committee is to overlook on all activities of the movement, help drive the movement forward and also to report back to the community through mass meetings that we attempt to hold weekly – every Sunday. Our Annual system of committees help us to minimise abuse of power and encourage each and every member of our movement to be empowered with leadership skills and other related skills concerning the running and building of our movement.