Why solidarity engagements?

Why Social Justice Tours?

These tours are organized for solidarity groups, activist, journalists, filmmakers, study groups and members of the public to witness the reality of the marginalization, poverty and oppression that 48% of our in South African population is forced to endure. The live lecture given on this tour is done within the framework of social justice and aims to facilitate a shift in public consciousness and attitudes towards the poor and and the struggles of the poor. Members of the communities are actively engaged in these excursions. (see below)

Social justice means the organizing towards justice and equality in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges between all groups within a society, with a special focus on organizing around the issues of the oppressed.

Oppression is multifaceted and involves:

  • “Exploitation: the act of using people’s labors to produce profit while not compensating them fairly.
  • Marginalization: the act of relegating or confining a group of people to a lower social standing or outer limit or edge of society.
  • Powerlessness: lack of social authority and power- lack of access to justice – lack of decision making powers because of ruling class domination.
  • Cultural Imperialism: involves taking the culture of the ruling class and establishing it as the norm. The groups that have power in society control how the people in that society interpret and communicate. In the  South Africa this would be the white population and the elite government and corporate class.
  • Violence:  probably the most obvious and visible form of oppression. Members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property. These attacks do not necessarily need a motive but are intended to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person. “

Source Material:


The Five Faces of Oppression-Read full document here.

The ten layers of oppression for the black and poor in South Africa.  Read here.

Social justice is central to issues in South Africa as marginalised communities are subject to corporate abuses, discrimination and deprivation on a large scale.  Though the Constitution guarantees equality for all no matter what gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability this is not the reality.  The reality is that 48% of our population live in abject poverty on less that $1.50 per day.  There is a dire lack of adequate sanitation and housing and food security is fast becoming a major issue for poor people.  Equal access to health and education also remains a major problem.

These field trips take you on a real journey into the heart of South Africa’s marginalized society. We do not go to gawk at poor people but to really engage with the issues of poverty and oppression that South Africa’s black and poor population is up against.  From living down wind and down stream from polluting factories, to lack of sanitation, to being forced to live on uranium contaminated land – you will bear witness to this.

Please note:  In all the communities we visit Media for Justice has a longstanding relationship with the residents and  have been involved in the discussions regarding these excursions and whether they would work for communities and their struggles.  Community members who have offered their time in terms of guiding the groups of  journalists, filmmakers and researchers are paid a fee.  Taxi’s are hired from within the communities and lunches are made by community members.  This is a form of advocacy as shared narratives ensure that these stories are not simply ignored or not faced full-on for fear of being labeled ‘poverty porn’.  These are solidarity excursions – people have full agency and are not objectified.  They seek to have their voices heard – their struggles recognised and encourage people outside of the poverty zones to join their struggles in solidarity.  These excursions also seek to undo the damage of mainstream media in which people are represented in sound bytes and their full narratives never heard.

Our groups usually consist of study groups, solidarity movements, journalists and activists.  We try to encourage SA citizens to join these tours so that they may shift their negative bias about why poverty exists, what it means to be poor and the systemic issues that create poverty and social issues. In this way we may begin to add to a critical mass of middle class citizens who are willing to join the struggles of the poor in solidarity.  There are intersections between the struggles of the poor and the struggles of the middle class in a corporatocracy such as South Africa and we seek to educate the middleclass on these intersections in order to mobilise them into action.

These are interactive tours and social justice activist, Sipho Singiswa will be giving a live lecture on South African politics all the way.

His lecture covers:

  • What social justice is
  • What neoliberalism is and how this has impacted on the poor
  • What rights the poor are guaranteed and how their reality contradicts their constitutional rights
  • We look at corporate environmental and government transgressions against the poor
  • Our geographical tours will be out together according to your needs.

Social Justice Tours

Social Justice Tour One: Alexandra Township and Joburg City  (3 hours)

Alex is a township which is close to Sandton, known as the richest 5KM square in Africa.

Here we do a walk through the area close to the Jukskei River and through the mains streets of Alex.

A visit to the rubbish dump cities – thousands of South Africans live off rubbish dumps in SA – it is their only access to food.

From the Rubbish dumps we go back to Alex  for lunch at a local venue.

After lunch we travel through Sandton on our way to the inner city – where we take you to Newtown, via the taxi ranks and meat market, to Arts on Main – a recently gentrified area.  We talk about how gentrification of inner city spaces has negatively impacted on the lives of the poor and can often be a transgression of human rights. IMG_4263

Social Justice Tour Two: Marikana (full day)

This tour looks at how the extractive industry impacts on the lives of communities living around mining operations.  These are multiple socioeconomic impacts that are most often the premise for protests and unrest.

We drive past the platinum mines and into Marikana where we do a one hour walk about the areas of Wonderkop and eKaneng.  Here we unpack the issue of social, economic and environmental justice as communities living in the shadows of these multinational mining giants are forced to endure untenable living conditions.


We speak to women who describe their day-to-day struggles.  We discuss the issue of corporate injustice.  We examine the infrastructure and environmental transgressions.  We visit the male hostels.

We discuss how these social, economic and environmental injustices impacted on the Marikana strikes which ended in the Marikana massacre at the Wonderkop Koppie where the incident unfolded. Lunch will be served by a women’s group in eNkaneng.

Social Justice Tour Three:  Kagiso Township and surrounds: (4 hours)

The Westrand

This half day tour takes us to the Township of Kagiso where we do a walk though the industrial area where factories and pollutants affect people’s health.

We do a walk about of Kagiso and deliver food to a feeding scheme for orphans run by a group of women in Kagiso.

We visit section three: an area where houses cracked due to open cast mining by Mintails Mogale mining operations that operate within 100 m’s of homes.


We visit mine tailing areas where people have set up informal settlements on top of unused mine dumps which have high levels of uranium.

We do a drive though the landscape that is scarred and decimated from mining operations

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