“Normally it is seen that the poor are poor in mind and that everything needs to be thought for us. But poverty is not stupidity; it is a lack of money. And we always remind people that the same system that made the rich rich has made the poor poor. We are still fighting to insist that there should be nothing for us without us. No one has a right to make decisions for us while we still have a mouth and mind to use.”
Bandile Mdlalose is secretary general of Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack-dwellers’ Movement) — the largest social movement in post-apartheid South Africa. She is committed to fighting for the right to dignity for all.