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We interviewed Africa Mthombeni, chairman of LPM (Landless People’s Movement), who participated in the VI International Conference of Via Campesina in Jakarta, Indonesia. He talked about the vision of the movement and the main issues concerning the future of South Africa.
The main progress for the movement since the declaration of Maputo in Mozambique (2008, at the V International Conference of La Via Campesina) has been that member countries are more involved in the struggle against capital. While food sovereingty is being increasingly recognized at international level, the next step is to build the capacities of the people, and develop clear programs.
"Everybody, at its own scale, should be able to develop direct programs to realize the philosophy of the movement", he said.
He also pointed out that the movement is currently covering 50% of Africa and made reference to the fact that the Operative Secretariat of La Via Campesina has recently moved from Asia to Africa, which gives the region more visibility and power.
At South African level, the chairman of the landless people’s movement expects more visibility at international level, and the implementation of educational programs to mobilize masses. He also appeals to the South African communities to influence policies, but also at international level to reach the United Nations for instance. Because of capital infiltrating society, land reforms have been slowly implemented, and now South Africa needs a food sovereignty campain. Although the leaders of the country understand the grassroots issues, they have always been very shy to develop rural programs. Capital should leave state institutions and the governement has to solve its dependance on capital. Another issue dealt with by Africa is that the mass media needs to get closer to the people.
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