Books about the Black Sash 

Sheena Duncan by Annemarie Hendrickz

The biography, SHEENA DUNCAN, described by Mary Burton as ‘A rich and honest portrayal which demonstrates the power of dedicated resistance to injustice’, was first launched in Cape Town on the Black Sash’s 60th birthday celebrations on 19 May 2015.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was one of the many distinguished guests at 6 Spin Street and author Annemarie Hendrikz read his Introduction to SHEENA DUNCAN as part of the proceedings, following a moving tribute to Sheena from human rights activist colleague and friend, Aninka Claassens.

  • More details about the book can be seen on the Facebook page.
  • SHEENA DUNCAN is available at all leading bookstores or as an ebook.  It can also be ordered via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The Black Sash by Mary Burton

This is the story of a remarkable organisation of mostly white, middle-class women who became known for standing silently in public, singly or in line, wearing a black sash and carrying a trademark poster in protest against the injustices of apartheid.

Though they lost their first campaign – against the disenfranchisement of ‘coloured’ voters in the mid-1950s – they turned their attention to other unjust laws and over the decades carved out a unique role for themselves, bearing witness, developing expertise and expert knowledge, and generally moving way ahead of the rest of white society in campaigning , for instance, for a universal adult franchise, for an end to capital punishment and for legal abortion.

Though harassed by the government, the Black Sash was one of the few white organisations that won widespread credibility and respect, both locally and abroad, and by the 1980s had become a recognised part of the broad movement for change in the country.

Writing from prison in 1985 to congratulate the Sash on its 30th anniversary, Nelson Mandela said:

“In spite of the immense difficulties against which you hvae to operate, your voice us heard right across teh country. Even though frowned upon by some, it pricks the conscience of others and is warmly welcomed by all good men and women."  

This uniquely South African story is written by Mary Burton, herself a national president of the Black Sash for several years and, later, one of the Truth and Reconciliation commissioners. With an insider’s perspective she helps us understand what drove this group of women, what it was like to be involved, and what lessons we can learn from the Sash’s history.

Standing on Street Corners by Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett

Publishers, The Natal Society Foundation, say:

"This book looks specifically at the Natal Midlands (Pietermaritzburg) region and the distinctiveness of its contribution. Like other regions it supported the liberation struggle through public protest and educational campaigns aimed at exposing iniquitous apartheid legislation. In a police state this required considerable determination and courage. During the darkest hours Natal Midlands Sash kept alive hope for universal civil rights in a democratic South Africa.

Whether Sash was a political pressure group of women, or a women’s organisation challenging patriarchy it generated lively debate. Environmental issues were also accorded a high priority. Fifteen interviews show that involvement in Sash was a life-enhancing experience for many members who have looked back with pride and honour at their part in the anti-apartheid movement from 1955 to 1994."

The book is available in bookshops or is freely downloadable here (as 2 megabyte file):

http://www.natalia.org.za/Files/Publications/Black%20Sash%20book.pdf

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Black Sash Publications

BLACK SASH'S SOCIAL SECURITY SEMINAR REPORT: Facing a World Without Full Employment

The aim of this seminar was to stimulate debate in support of how to respond to the needs of unemployed and destitute adults and to put income squarely on the agenda.

Download the Black Sash Social Security Seminar Report (2016)

PARALEGAL MANUAL 2015

The Paralegal Manual is an invaluable tool for anyone who works in the field of development and access to justice. It provides up-to-date information on most of the laws and legal procedures that affect everyone who lives in South Africa. The manual has been specifically developed to aid NGOs, advice offices, shop stewards, community development workers and others who assist disadvantaged individuals and communities to access state services or to sort out legal problems.

View the manual online

THE BLACK SASH MODEL OF COMMUNITY BASED MONITORING - FEBRUARY 29, 2016

Leah Koskimaki, Meshay Moses and Laurence Piper, Department of Political Studies, University of the Western Cape, Funded by the Participedia project, http://www.participedia.net/

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE REPORT (PDF, 2.5MB)




BLACK SASH IN GGLN'S 'SPARK' PUBLICATION MAY 2013

"The Black Sash, in partnership with the Health Economics Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Health-e news service, held consultative workshops in all provinces to give those who use public health-care facilities an opportunity to contribute to the health reform proposals."
Click here to download (pdf 1.3Mb)

BLACK SASH IN GGLN'S "ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP MATTERS" 2013

"This publication explores how the notion of active citizenship can serve as an analytical concept to review the nature and quality of participatory local democracy in South Africa. It also considers it as a paradigm to inspire new models and practices that are relevant in South Africa’s development context."

Click here to download (pdf 2.0 Mb)

SOCIAL ASSISTANCE: A REFERENCE GUIDE FOR PARALEGALS

This reference guide is part of a series of Black Sash guides for paralegals and other people and organisations who provide advice regarding people’s socio-economic rights. It draws on the Black Sash’s extensive experience of assisting people with difficulties in accessing social assistance – with a view to enriching your understanding of this area of law, the kinds of challenges that can be faced and what can be done about them.

The guide has been designed to help you find answers to some of the questions you may have, by dedicating a separate chapter to each social grant or award. Social assistance laws continue to change, following the government’s commitments and advocacy from the public. We hope to have captured in one publication as much up-to-date information as possible to help people in advice offices advise their clients – towards promoting efficient access to social assistance.

Download the guide (.pdf 2.6Mb)

DEBT AND CREDIT REFERENCE GUIDE FOR PARALEGALS

The guide is intended to assist paralegals and others – like priests, trade union representatives, and social workers – who give advice to vulnerable people struggling to make ends meet.

The guide explains the terms and processes relating to debt and credit – such as over-indebtedness, court orders, negative listings, credit agreements and the role of the Credit Bureaus – as well as providing practical tips and templates for drawing up household budgets and assessing your financial and legal situation.

Download Debt and Credit: A reference guide for paralegals (revised December 2008)

“WHEN THE GRANT STOPS, THE HOPE STOPS"

The impact of the lapsing of the child support grant at age 15: Testimonies from caregivers of children aged 15 to 18

A Report for Parliament compiled by the Children’s Institute (UCT), Black Sash, and ACESS and released on 21 October 2009.We wanted to find out what happens to children and their families when the Child Support Grant (CSG) stops at the age of 15; to show this evidence to Parliament; and to appeal to Parliament for assistance in ensuring that the CSG is extended to18.

Download “When the grant stops, the hope stops.”

Making Local Government Work

The Black Sash has endorsed the “Making Local Government Work" action guide, a joint project by SECTION27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) and Read Hop Phillips.

The guide shows how to “engage government from inside by participating in formal processes, and from outside by going public through complaints, petitions, protest action, the media and the courts”The Black Sash will be using this guide in various training situations with community organisations in our various networks. The manual will be used as a basis for training and support, as well as for  developing partnerships.

Click here to download the guide

BREAKING THE POVERTY TRAP: FINANCING A BASIC INCOME GRANT IN SOUTH AFRICA

Nearly a decade after South Africa’s historic transition to democracy, pervasive poverty and inequality pose the greatest threat to human dignity and social cohesion. Roughly half of our population – including two thirds of all children – continues to live in poverty, despite a significant expansion of social service delivery. Our current social security system has shown the effectiveness of income transfers in combating poverty.

However, the social safety net inherited from the apartheid era was modelled on the “welfarist” programmes developed for industrialised countries, which assume close to full employment and are designed to address special contingencies and fluctuations in the economic cycle.

Download the full report (.pdf)

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