In this Trans-Atlantic and Pan-African conversation, S'bu Zikode and Ruth Wilson Gilmore will explore the work of one of South Africa's most important contemporary social movements, Abahlali baseMjondolo. Abahlali is a movement of, by, and for the poor, with thousands of members living in shack settlements who are fighting for land, housing, and dignity. The movement's lived Black Geographies of liberation struggle offer us a fruitful medium to explore both commonalities and specificities in forms of place-based social movement mobilization across different national and regional contexts.

S’bu Zikode is President of Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers Movement), which began in 2005 in Durban, South Africa. Today it is one of the largest social movements in South Africa. Zikode has been invited to speak about the movement in dozens of countries across the world. Writings by Abahlali can be found at: 

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is an abolitionist, scholar, and organizer. She teaches in the PhD program of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the City University of New York, where she is also Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. She is the author of the prize-winning Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (UC Press); of Abolition Geographies: Essays Towards Liberation (Verso); and of the forthcoming Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition (Haymarket).

"Black Reconstruction as a Portal" is a year-long Sawyer Seminar at the University of California, Irvine that explores the global salience of visions for Black Reconstruction as a portal between the crisis that marks our current predicament and the freedom dreams of those who have taken to the streets insisting that another world is still possible. For more information, go to: or follow us on Twitter @ReadingDubois. 

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