AFRA News No. 65 October 2009
Celebrating 30 years!
Thirty years ago, on 4th October 1979, a group met in a church hall in Pietermaritzburg. They decided to form an association “to monitor, enquire into, record and publicise all matters related to the social and economic position of persons in the rural areas of the province”.
They would take action and cooperate with others, “to alleviate hardship, discrimination and oppression” and to encourage “social and economic advancement and development.” They had no money and no staff — their first office was loaned by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (PACSA).
Over the years, as boardmembers and staff , we have experienced the sadness of rural communities (such as KwaPitela near Underberg) being destroyed, we have worked with evicted labour tenants and shared the joy of a new democratic era with progressive land rights legislation. Throughout, AFRA has monitored, researched, publicised, lobbied and sometimes protested.
On 3rd October 2009, AFRA, now with a staff of fifteen, joins seven Pmb NGO’s to celebrate their years of service to the people of the Midlands and the province. It is a proud record but we cannot relax in the face of unresolved land claims, under resourced land redistribution, continuing evictions and harassment. AFRA proudly commits itself to ongoing struggle for a fair deal for all rural people.
John Aitchison (Director, and board member since inception)