A group of black and coloured queer artists in Cape Town are occupying a Camps Bay mansion to draw attention to land and housing matters. They plan to remain in the home for two to three months.
A group of seven from the Queer Radical Feminist Activist Collective formally booked the home through Airbnb for three nights accommodation over the weekend starting last Friday [September 18] and are now on their second unpaid day. Under the #WeSeeYou movement, they aim to draw attention to the lack of safe spaces queer people, women and children and the homeless have in society.
We’re a collective of queer black South Africans. We are currently occupying a mansion in Camps Bay, one of the most expensive suburbs on the continent & reclaiming the space as a place of refuge. We stand in solidarity with the occupation movement globally #weseeyou #takeupspace
— We See You (@WeSeeYou_2020) September 21, 2020
This occupation has been months in the making. They were inspired to undertake this movement as the COVID-19 lockdown exposed further inequalities in South Africa.
“We are queer, black and coloured artivists united from the working and middle class to occupy Camp’s Bay Mansion and reject the profiteering of our natural resources by global elites in a corrupt and broken system of inequality,” they explain on their social media accounts.
“Our action is part of a global movement of occupiers who do not have homes, particularly those who are close to home that are landless, cannot afford their rent or face violence in their place of residence.”
The Khayelitsha CAN movement members joined the group on Monday evening [September 21] to discuss the struggles they have been having with illegal evictions, police violence, inhumane living conditions and gender based violence.
The rental company that manages the mansion has threatened police action.
News24 reports that Airbnb is siding with the hosts of the premises. “While we deeply respect the freedom of expression and rights of those who protest, the platform requires policies that honours the trust that hosts put in us and in guests in their private spaces. As a result, we are providing support to the host,” its communications agency said in a statement.