by Colin Rajah
Yesterday, the World Social Forum (WSF) arrived on the African continent and
That’s a vicious self-fulfilling prophecy cycle: if the media says it enough, people start to believe and talk about it, and the media reports that. And so the WSF has challenges even before it began.
But for the 60+ of us who are a part of the Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) delegation from the
So when we began our WSF 2007 with a couple of site visits to the Korogocho slums and the Rukubi village, it was already recognizable. In spite of being the largest collection of slums – or more accurately, “people’s settlements” – in Nairobi, Korogocho has a growing network of community organizations that not only contend with the extreme poverty, but with public stigma of them as criminals (does having to turn to sex work or petty theft just to be able to put food on the table make one a criminal?)
It boasts a community-run radio station, a number of cultural performance groups, a youth sports association that also doubles as a handicraft collective etc. And at the same time, they have to contend with the attempts by private companies who are attempting to “land grab” pieces of their land to gentrify. When land grabbing has happened, overnight communities have been displaced and forced into even more poverty.
In another stark example, John Ayila from the Friends of Yala Swamp explained to us how their rural community that includes a lake has been leased to Oklahoma-based Dominion Farms to harvest products that are sold to the