"Sissy ni watumishi wa community / We are servants of the community" — Nyagah wa Kamau / Stephen Nyash, RIP
25 Feb 2012 01:53 GMT
Kenya Indymedia has reported that on Tuesday, February 21, radio journalist and organizer Stephen Nyash was shot dead in the Korogocho ghetto of Nairobi, where he had lived and worked for most of his life. Korogocho is the third largest slum in the world . At writing, the motive for his murder is not clear.
Nyash was one of the founders of KOCH FM , a close partner of Kenya Indymedia. He was also a leader in "Koch Hope" and "Ghetto Films," which worked to empower the slumdwellers of Korogocho. He brought this wealth of experience to the fourth IMC-Africa Convergence in Senegal last March as a representative of Kenya Indymedia. He was also integral in organizing a "Conference of People" held in Korogocho to coincide with the Conference of Parties (COP-17) gathering on climate change. Fellow organizer John Bwakali writes, "From the moment that he knew about Kenya Indymedia, Nyash became not just an active participant but fellow leader of the movement… Upon return [from Senegal], he immersed himself into the vision and work of Kenya Indymedia." Read John's Full Reflection HERE  and his audio interview with Nyash  on the fight against State injustices.
To our knowledge, Nyash is the third Indymedia worker to be killed. On June 29th, 2004, 23-year old Lenin Cali Najera of Indymedia Guayaquil in Ecuador was assassinated by agents of the Ecuadorian government [5, 6]. On October 27, 2006 Bradley Roland Will of New York City Indymedia was assassinated by paramilitary forces of the Mexican government while documenting the on-going struggle of the people of Oaxaca. [7, 8]
Nyash will be buried on 3 March 2012. He is survived by his wife, three year old daughter, ten year old son and mother. Kenya Indymedia is accepting donations for burial expenses and the family's needs, and plans to set up a fund to continue his work toward justice for the oppressed particularly in the slums; peace at the community level and economic empowerment and protection of young people. For the short term, donations can be sent via paypal to email@example.com.
More on KOCH FM From Deep Dish/Waves of Change :
Who we are?
Koch Fm is the first ghetto community radio in Kenya. It was started in 2006 by a group of 10 youths in Korogocho slums. Our motto is: Edutainment - Educating through entertainment!
The radio is situated in Korogocho slums which is the third largest slum after Kibera and Mathare.
The radio was started in order to provides a platform for Korogocho people to address their issues through information sharing, education and communication to promote social, political and economic well-being of its listeners. The radio's aim is to give a voice to the voice-less by mobilizing, lobbying and advocating for human rights issues using different radio programmes. Koch FM highlights issues like gender empowerment, HIV and aids, insecurities, poor governance, poor sanitation, children's rights and youth & talent.
A tribute to Stephen Nyash by John Bwakali, Kenya Indymedia, as published on ciranda.net :
NYASH’S LIFELONG COMMITMENT TO A BETTER LIFE FOR SLUM DWELLERS
Nyash almost always had a big smile pasted on his face.
But lurking behind this smile was a deep passion for the less fortunate people and against the injustices that they suffer. The injustices of the State both locally and globally together with the many injustice of poverty.
Earlier this month of February, I had lunch with Nyash in Korogocho ghetto, where he spent most of his life. We had agreed to meet at Othaya, a popular nyama choma (roast meat) restaurant in Korogocho.
I arrived a bit earlier than him and when he arrived, he was spotting his trademark smile. He apologized for being late, noting that he had been concluding several meetings. I understood, because I knew that Nyash was either leading or deeply involved in many initiatives towards making life better for the people of Korogocho.
Within moments of his arrival, Nyash began assisting the waiter to serve the people who were flocking into the restaurant. He moved from table to table, chopping steaming meat and washing the hands of the people. He wasn’t doing this because he worked there but because he noticed that the sole waiter at the place was swamped with work.
As he was serving the people next to my table, he flashed that big smile at me and said cheerily, ‘sisi ni watumishi wa community – we are servants of the community.’
These five words best describe how Nyash lived and died – serving the community that he loved. Serving the people of Korogocho slums to put food on their table, seal leaking roofs, take their children to school, fight crime, make better roads, leave peaceably, find decent livelihoods and speak out.
Nyash did all this through Koch FM, the community radio station that he co-founded and chaired; Koch Hope, another organization which he co-founded that provides bathroom, conference and recreational services to the people of Korogocho; Ghetto Films, an organization that informs and empower slum dwellers through film and Kenya Indymedia, a movement that provides a platform for community activists to find unity and clarity in their common voice for the people.
From the moment that he knew about Kenya Indymedia, Nyash became not just an active participant but fellow leader of the movement. Together with three other activists, he represented Kenya Indymedia in Senegal during the Indymedia collective that was held there. Upon return, he immersed himself into the vision and work of Kenya Indymedia.
In our last ‘Conference of People’ event, Nyash played a pivotal role by mobilizing local activists and stakeholders. He also ensured the venue was available and later on organized lunch for the organizers.
I last talked with him on Saturday 18th of this month. Because I was then in Lamu Island, we agreed to meet on Wednesday 22nd so that we could prepare a strategy outline for Kenya Indymedia’s work for 2012.
Sadly on the morning of this day that we were to meet, I received text message from Roba, a Kenya Indymedia member and renowned activist musician. The text read simply that, ‘we have lost Nyash, bonge la maandamano Koch.’ We have lost Nyash and people all over Korogocho are demonstrating.
Nyash had been gunned down a few hours earlier outside his house in Korogocho. He was shot in the chest and stomach and didn’t make it to hospital. It is still not clear who committed this brutal and evil act. What is clear is that although they took away his life, they can never take away his legacy.
I will now leave you with his own words, ‘sisi ni watumishi wa community – we are servants of the community.’
The best tribute we can pay to our friend, comrade and brother Nyash is to ensure that his service remains alive and active by continuing to serve the people of Korogocho slums and those in our own societies who are less fortunate.
NB: Kenya Indymedia will meet and consult widely on how both the local and international community of activists can best pay tribute to Nyash by contributing to a concrete project that will help his family and the people of Korogocho.
1 - Indymedia Radio Activist Shot in Kenya
2 - KOCH-FM Facebook Page
3 - A tribute to Stephen Nyash by John Bwakali, Kenya Indymedia
4 - audio interview with Nyash on the fight against State injustices
5 - Ecuador IMC activist assassinated
6 - Carta a Lenin Cali
7 - NYC Indymedia Journalist Brad Will Shot Dead by Government Forces in Oaxaca
8 - The New York City Independent Media Center responds to the death of Brad WILL
The moment has come for those visiting Durban for the first time. The city went on its daily business as normal. The sense in everyday Durban crowds is to keep away from the fortressed International Convention Centre. As billboards scream in green that the international status of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the streetwise citizen knows that it is advisable to avoid main streets and hotels in Durban during this period.
Of the people I had the chance of interacting with ordinary Durbanites, at taxi ranks, street corners and public parks; very few knew what the fuss was actually about. People said that in order to get informed and involved, one had to be super connected to the right people otherwise any hope of understanding what is going on is a distant illusion. Information does not seep down to the mass of people, fast enough. The impression of high tech applications and technical jargon about scientific rationale is a real de-motivation to participation.
This is how I explain why if one meets a person who stays in and around KZN and ask them about what is happening at COP17, they shrug their shoulders and say that they have no idea, they only know that there are large numbers of military forces and double the numbers of police personnel said to be protecting the national interests while negotiations continue.
Images of regal looking smooth negotiators are thrown at us across TV channels sitting around the table like pirates settling around the table dividing the loot. The news of a march by civil society organizations came as a welcome relief to me. December 3rd, 2011 was a big day for the global people's organizations. People walked in the blazing Durban heat singing, laughing, pushing and shoving. They came out in their thousands to make their voices heard against the negotiators inside.
Some people on the march believed that the day of freedom fighters has come, as thousands of people come from all over the world to Durban in solidarity with the rest of mankind threatened by climate change. Delegates and activists from all over the world gathered at what the apartheid regime called P. W. Bhotha Park in downtown Durban, which Durbanites call instead King Dingan Park. The march begun at 10am and the itinerary included the ICC building, to end at the Pavillion at South Beach.
At the beginning of the march, ANC undercover march participants wearing formal suites and carrying blue bags, which spelled “COP17 host” went off to grab and burn a poster carried by one woman activist in the march saying: “Zuma is a rapist.” This started a scuffle between ‘hosts’ who were seemingly ANC or President Zuma’s supporters against other participants in the march from organizations, clowns and children. The angry ‘hosts’ in satin green outfits from Durban started to throw bottles of water and empty cans at the protesters who were wearing T-shirts in support of the “One million job campaign”.
No one reacted to the violent provocations and continued to take part in the march without losing hope and motivation. They came to Durban to protect the right of Mother Earth. Besides these confrontation, no other violent accidents or clashes were reported. The march ended abruptly when people were ordered to ‘go home’ by apparently famous organizers.
Follow the story here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/12/08/activists-beaten-at-cop17-by...
''Volunteers'' employed by the city of Durban at COP17 yesterday slapped and kicked environmental activists who confronted President Jacob Zuma for not standing up for Africa at the climate change talks.
The heavy-handed actions of the "green bombers" - so called by activists because of their green uniforms and aggression - and of unionists, who kicked an activist, were in full view of the world's media.
After Zuma had told the activists at a report-back session in the Durban City Hall that he felt that it was necessary for him to interact with civil society, pandemonium broke out when placards calling on him to "ditch Europe and the US" and not "let Africa fry" were held up.
The volunteers and Zuma's bodyguards pulled the placards from the activists and tore them up.
When the activists demanded that they be allowed to hold up their placards as part of their interaction with Zuma, the volunteers pushed and slapped them while trying to throw them out of the hall. A group of people, wearing SA Municipal Workers' Union T-shirts, then started singing in support of Zuma.
Zuma did not intervene in the scuffle but had a clear view of the assault on local climate activist Rehad Desai, who was slapped by a volunteer and then pushed to the ground when he called for the president to stand up for Africa.
After Desai fell, the unionists formed a ring around him and kicked him as they sang.
Moe Shaik, the head of the Secret Service, and Cosatu's KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Zet Luzipho, tried to stop the chaos by pushing the volunteers away but the group continued to kick Desai.
After KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, the programme director, repeatedly called for calm police broke up the scuffles.
Desai and several other activists were thrown out but the volunteers, who started the trouble, remained. No arrests were made.
The meeting continued with Zuma denouncing the chaos as "uncalled for".
"I don't agree with people who disrupt and loot in the name of democracy," he said. "We must tolerate other people's views."
But the activists slammed Zuma, saying he did nothing to protect their rights.
"He just sat there and did nothing. It happened right in front of him," Siziwe Khanyile, of South African environmental group Groundwork, said.
Desai said he was kicked for raising his concerns about speculation that Zuma was planning to side with the EU during the climate negotiations.
He said he had it on good authority that the ''green bombers'' were members of the ANC Youth League, employed by outgoing Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe to intimidate activists at COP17.
eThekwini municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng confirmed that COP17 volunteers were hired and paid by the city, but he rubbished claims that they were told to intimidate activists.
Sutcliffe said the volunteers did not initiate the scuffle.
"The meeting, which was progressing positively, was interrupted by a small group of protestors who chose the opportunity to attempt to disrupt proceedings by raising posters while their own representatives were engaging with the president.
"After a few minutes of disruption, members of the audience tried to get the protestors to take down their posters and allow the proceedings to continue. The situation escalated and a scuffle broke out between protestors and the audience. Security, both SAPS and municipal, became involved and then a few COP17 volunteers, who were standing close by, were drawn into the fray," he said.
The secretary of the ANC Youth League's eThekwini region, Vukani Ndlovu, dismissed the suggestion that the volunteers were recruited from the league, saying they were "just youth".
Activists claim Zuma supporters attacked them
Tensions between local left activists at COP17 in Durban and the government exploded again today with activists claiming they were assaulted by “a group of pro-Zuma supporters” at a meeting with President Jacob Zuma.
“In a meeting designed for engagement between President Zuma and communities and civil society, violence broke out when peaceful civil society demonstrators silently held up signs asking ‘Zuma to stand with Africa,’” said Tristen Taylor from Earthlife Africa.
He said the “pro-Zuma supporters”, many wearing the uniforms of COP17 volunteers then attacked the demonstrators “in an act of mob violence”.
“Demonstrators were roughed up and some had to flee the hall,” he said. “While all of this went on, President Zuma sat up on the podium and remained quiet. Furthermore, it took nearly ten minutes before police entered the hall to restore order.”
Greenpeace activists were also caught in the fistfight. Greenpeace activist Melita Steele was injured. She tweeted: People attacked in the meeting for protesting. I ended up getting punched and other people were kicked.
Her colleague, Ferial Adams, told Eyewitness News that youths started singing and toyi-toying before they were joined by a group of ANC supporters, dressed as COP17 marshals, who then attacked the activists.
Adams was also punched and kicked by the crowd.
Siziwe Khanyile of groundWork said: “This was our event, organised to communicate with President Zuma. We were then abused, kicked out, robbed, and manhandled by Zuma supporters disguised as COP17 volunteers.”
The latest incident follows violence over the weekend where activists were attacked by a group of COP17 volunteers, also dressed in their bright green uniform.
The “green bombers” as they were dubbed by the activists roughed up the green activists and pelted them with stones over the weekend at the Day of Global Action march.
Before COP17 the leftist activists also complained that they were closely being watched by both National Intelligence and the police’s crime intelligence.
Zuma’s office would not say how the president reacted during the scuffle, reports Sabelo Ndlangisa.
In a statement, Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said there had been “an unfortunate scuffle at the beginning of the meeting” with groups jostling to be heard.
“The Presidency acknowledges the intervention of the police who did their jobs to restore order in the Durban City Hall. The meeting continued successfully and constructively with civil society afterwards,” Maharaj said.
Spokesperson for the police, General Vish Naidoo, confirmed the altercation, but denied that it took place directly in front of Zuma.
"There was a difference of opinion and police intervened," he said. "The situation was resolved and normalised immediately."
He said he was informed the fight was between COP17 volunteers and NGOs. No one was arrested.
Drama at Durban City Hall
Posted on 08 December 2011 by terna
By Ramatamo wa Matamong – Alex Pioneer*
DURBAN, Dec 8 – (TerraViva) For a second time, people dressed in the green track suits issued to city volunteers helping out with the U.N. climate conference have clashed with protesting members of civil society. The latest incident took place at Durban’s City Hall – in the presence of South African President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma was meeting with civil society on issues of climate change, with their demand for a second commitment to replace the Kyoto Protocol top of their concerns. Civil society fears that developed countries – historically responsible for the majority of pollution – will refuse to commit to new emissions reduction targets before Kyoto expires in 2012. There are also fears that the Green Climate Fund which would pay for adaptation measures in developing countries may not be realised when the 17th Conference of Parties ends.
The Rural Women’s Assembly was represented, as were the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the National Union of Mineworkers, the South African Council of Churches and numerous environmental organisations.
Activist Rehad Desai was forced out of the public meeting with President Zuma. Credit: Ramatamo wa Matamong/TerraViva
While KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize was introducing the event, a campaigner held up a sign reading “Stand with Africa! No to Durban Mandate!” Volunteers in the green track suits moved to take it. When film-maker and activist Rehad Desai tried to intervene, and he and several others were wrestled out of the hall.
“They pushed me to the floor and kicked me in the face,” said Desai.
“We were called to come here and express our feelings, this message on the placards is exactly how we feel,” said Samson Mokwena from the Vaal Triangle. “I think these volunteers are being used for cheap political campaigning.”
The action recalls what happened of the start of the Global Day of Action march on Saturday, when volunteers wearing the official tracksuits, issued by the City of Durban to its COP 17 volunteers disrupted the beginning of the march, which had been organised by a coalition of environmental groups including Greenpeace.
Mkhize, convener of the meeting, called everyone to order and stressed that the gathering was not intended for demonstrations, but as an interaction between President Zuma and civil society. “We need to respect each other and raise our views accordingly.”
Taking the floor, rural women told the president to take the lead as the hosting country to encourage parties to commit to Kyoto 2, otherwise small-scale farming will continue to suffer. COSATU said hosting COP 18 in Qatar was inappropriate, given that country’s infamously repressive labour laws.
“As labour movement, we don’t see it a desirable destination, it is not clear how our role is going to be or ever we will be allowed to go there,” said COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini.
Other civil movements said if there is no commitment to a successor to Kyoto, hundreds of millions of people across Africa – people who bear no responsibility for the ruin of the planet – have been condemned to misery, insecurity, dislocation and death.
The world is currently headed for a minimum average temperature rise of four degrees – which would spell an increase of between six and eight degrees for most parts of Africa.
Before responding to the concerns raised by activists, Zuma also condemned the commotion that had unfolded before his eyes. “We defeated the apartheid regime by talking and debating around the table, not with violence. We are here with different views, but let’s tolerate each other.”
Zuma then attempted to dispel the rumour that South Africa has broken away from other African Countries in negotiations. “This is not true. As Africans, we remain united and are one voice for a common goal.”
He said he had taken note of their concerns, but seemed to have disappointed some when he said there are some countries that are more powerful than others.
“Unfortunately there is nothing we can do, we will never be equal. There are those countries in the history of United Nations that have veto rights. Even if we vote on issues, if they don’t want to participate, they are free to do that,” he said.
“However as African colleagues, we remain committed on adaption and mitigation. The rich countries must help developing ones through the Green Climate Fund,” he concluded.
Civil society was not satisfied. “He was vague and lacked details. We are calling for a fair and a binding agreement,” said Desmond D’Sa, a leader of the South Durban Community for Environmental Alliance.
“Zuma must listen to people. South Africa has enough power to influence both EU and U.N. to push the boundary of poverty and inequality.”
* Community media coverage of COP 17 is being supported by the Media Development & Diversity Agency of South Africa, which is promoting the participation of local journalists through a programme of training and reporting on climate change.
Climate change has a particularly devastating impact on black populations in the townships around South African cities. Townships are the result of large populations of unemployed people who migrated from rural to overcrowded urban areas. Once they reached the city, finding a job became difficult and they ended up not having a place where to stay. This lead people to build shacks on any available green blankets of mother earth. By doing so, shacks have also caused a lot of environmental damage, such as floods caused by heavy rains.
After the heavy rains people lost their houses and were left with deep pools of water carved out of the land. These conditions lead to the spread of diseases, such as TB and cholera, which have caused a lot of deaths in black townships. Moreover, people have built their shacks on refuse dump areas. In townships, many people from different parts of South Africa meet and fall in love; they create their lives in these shacks, and they might also end up with unexpected pregnancies. Others might turn to prostitution, which makes them vulnerable to HIV /Aids.
People with diseases are highly affected by climate change, and they complain especially when it is cold. Climate change affects their body's capacity to adapt, it is a systematic change.
While poor people in townships increasingly suffer from diseases also because of climate change, at the COP17 governments' officials are using climate change as a new opportunity to create new profits. They advertize the green economy (i.e. solar energy) as a new resource, but in reality the needs of those unemployed and affected by diseases in townships will not benefit from this green economy.
In the township of Umlazi; South of the city of Durban, the community is largely black African AmaZulu. The biggest challenge for the people living in this area are social and environmental degradation. Though the township has become deffrentiated with a pocket full of households relatively comfortable (with running water, water-borne swerage, satalite TV and motor vihecle. a growing marjority of people are living in socio- ecomic and environmental crisis.
Climate change does not help the already difficult lives of the economicallly excluded. These negotiations have not focussed on actual matters that worry ordinary people; instead they have been an expenssive game of playboy savvy international technocrats obssessing about protocol and ducking and diving from commiting the human civilisation to do right by planet earth before it is too late.
Different global civil soceity gather for global day of action but every county was not on the same pages with the others.It that the government,civil soceity leaders never bear in mind that on the day'alot was expected,if they talk about to occupy a protest.The governments/UN leaders are dealing and selling inside and the civil soceity groups are lacking to be united, but they promote the mobilasation of the movements,unions,church members,community,the who and who,those who know who.The police on the side of the governmnet,by being the face of the hidden society/aganders.
Thousands of people gathered in Durban from across the world this Saturday in a large march including civil society, youth movements, faith groups, union members, women’s rights activists, artists ,community voices like Indymedia etc..
According to protestors the aim of the march was to take their memorandums to UNFCCC Chief Christiana Figueres and COP17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Groups gathered early morning in all streets of Durban behind Hillton Hotel , with their t-shirts singing songs and slogans.
Heads of state and ministers are expected to join the COP-17 this upcoming week
Thousands of people gathered in Durban from across the world attended this Saturday a large march including civil society, youth movements, faith groups, union members, women’s rights activists, artists ,community voices like Indymedia etc..
According to protestors the aim of the march was to take their memorandums to UNFCCC Chief Christiana Figueres and COP17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Groups gathered as early as morning in all streets of Durban behind Hillton Hotel , with their t-shirts singing songs and slogans
Heads of state and ministers are expected to join the COP-17 this upcoming week
At the People’s space in Durban, hosted by the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where the alternative conference on climate change takes place, 500 activist women have gathered together under a tent. Rural women have converged to Durban from the Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape, from Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Namibia, and Botswana to participate to a two-day conference organized for women by NGOs and unions at the People’s space. Here, women have worked in groups to discuss the impacts of climate change in their communities, and to share ideas for possible solutions. One key message is the unity of rural women across the larger South African region, and the unity with other rural women that were also represented in small number from India, Ecuador, Sierra Leone and Senegal. While African women will be the most affected by an increase of Africa’s warming trend, the governments converged at the Conference of Parties hosted in the gated space of the ICC in downtown Durban have excluded rural women’s participations from the discussion and decision making process on climate change.
Poverty, sickness and serious implications for agriculture due to increasing and unpredicted floods and severe climate conditions are the main consequences of climate change. Women are the most vulnerable population being affected by climate change in Africa, because of their financial reliance on agricultural work. However, they feel that their knowledge and capacity to build resilience have been entirely ignored by policy-makers in Durban and in previous conferences.
Read more on Women’s Manifesto on Climate Change (2007) here: http://www.wen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/manifesto.pdf (or Click on the link below)