Baby Jayden Khoza, aged just two weeks old, was killed during violent repression of a community protest by the police. The baby’s killing underlines the utter inhumanity of the post-apartheid South African state in dealing with poor people who only demand the right to a decent life. Jayden could have become a teacher, a doctor, a leader in his community or even a revolutionary president; an honest president.
On Monday, 29 May, the Foreman Road community in Clare Estate, Durban, came under serious police assault after a road blockade that had been organised earlier that morning. That protest was disruptive but it was also peaceful. Baby Jayden Khoza, two-weeks old, lost his life during the brutal police assault on the community. The next day the headline on the front page of The Mercury said that baby Jayden had died during a protest. We wish to be clear: Baby Jayden did not die during a protest. He was killed during a police assault on the Foreman Road community following a protest.
In South Africa impoverished black people are treated like dirt. We can be killed like animals. It is taken as normal that we should live in the mud, raise our children in constant fires, be driven out of our homes and the cities with bulldozers and rubber bullets and beaten, tortured, slandered and murdered when we gather together and insist on the recognition of our human dignity.
Last night, more than a thousand people gathered in an open assembly in the Foreman Road settlement. A decision to honour and respect Jayden Khoza with a memorial service was taken. Once again we have to honour the dignity of our dead, a dignity that we are denied by this society, and this government, in life.
We have, with the strong support of the family, decided to hold a memorial service at the Foreman Road settlement at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday 01 June 2017. Jayden will be laid to rest on Saturday the 03rd June. The funeral service will also be held at the Foreman Road settlement.
Jayden could have become a teacher, a doctor, a leader in his community or even a revolutionary president, an honest president who serves the people by taking direction from the people. Everyday the richness of the possibilities for our lives comes under assault from an oppressive society. It is not just the police that beat us into oppression. It is a whole system of oppression. Racism, capitalism and the gangster state combine to make this world where some of us live with teargas, fire, prisons, the destruction of our homes, torture and murder while those who say that they represent us, and who demand that we accept our own oppression, are buying homes in Dubai.
Tomorrow is International Children’s Day. Jayden died at the hands of the police on International Children’s Week. This is the reality of our oppression.
Jayden’s parents are traumatised. We are glad, though, that the community in Foreman Road has shown unity and support at this difficult time for the Khoza family. Our strength as oppressed people can only come from our togetherness. Our lives and our future depend on that togetherness.
The movement is working together with our legal team to ensure that justice is done in this matter. We will ensure that the post-mortem will be conducted by an independent doctor who will leave no stone unturned in this matter. We will sue the police. The Police Minister will be made to answer in this matter. We do this because we feel the pain that this family is feeling. At anytime any of us could find ourselves in the same position as Jayden’s parents. Every night we go to sleep knowing that the night, or the next day, could bring a fire, the land invasions unit, an assassin, armed party thugs, or the police.
But most importantly we will continue to organise and to mobilise for land, housing and dignity. We will continue to build the power of the oppressed and to struggle for a just society, a society in which every human life is counted as a human life and given the respect and dignity of a human life. We will continue to fight for, protect and advance the interests of the impoverished and marginalised. For as long as we continue to be denied land we will continue to occupy land. For as long as the politicians continue to refuse to engage us on a democratic basis we will continue to blockade roads in protest.
We are and will be with the Khoza family during these days of pain.
Jayden Khoza. Say his name. Jayden Khoza.
Thapelo Mohapi 062 892 5323
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Siphelele Sivunga 083 3603138