Remembering Patrick Hunsley
Patrick Magebhula Hunsley, founding member and stalwart of the South African Alliance and Shack Dwellers International (SDI) died on the 4th August 2014.
“Our lives are very short so we cannot afford to close them to others… We need to open the doors to our hearts, minds and communities, by doing this we will learn from each other, they will learn from our heart failures, We will live through their heartbeats, how will they know if we don’t let them in?”
Patrick Hunsley, excerpt from the poem “Let’s let them into our lives”.
Since the early 1990s, Patrick was instrumental in building community networks and local savings schemes. He negotiated with government departments, and even turned away offers when it jeopardised the needs of the community. From his home in Piesang River between the shacklands of Inanda, Durban, where the Federation built 1,431 houses between 1992 and 2000, Patrick mobilised communities across South Africa as a leader of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor. Since 2008/09 he served as the chairperson of the Informal Settlement Network. He built progressive partnerships with government agencies and as a special advisor to the previous minister of Human Settlements Mr. Tokyo Sexwale, served as a committee member of the Ministerial Sanitation Task Team, and presented at numerous international conferences such as World Urban Forum 7.
Patrick speaks in Khayelitsha, Cape Town
Tributes to Patrick Hunsley
Patrick has been dodging bullets all his life – literally and figuratively. He survived being stabbed in the lung. He survived vicious assaults. He survived stints in reformatory and in prison. He survived being gang-pressed into an Ihkatha Impi. He survived a prolonged fight in the shacklands of Inanda to bring a progressive civic organisation into being in his settlement. He survived wave after wave of attacks from forces of reaction and crime to unseat him. He survived alcoholism. He survived TB. He survived HIV. He survived being a poor man in the shacklands of South Africa.
I have come to know Patrick both as a friend, as a brother, a confidante, a colleague, a co-worker as well as a sparring partner.
I met Patrick in March 1991 in Broederstroom, during the first Peoples Dialogue workshop. i can clearly remember him with his snoop Dog look and an Arrow shirt and golden chains around his neck. he spoke with this wonderful english accent. for a while i was convinced he was one of those black Americans on tour to south Africa…
Uwile umthi omkhule waka Hunsley makhosikazi.
Uwile umthi omkhulu wesikhukhukazi samantungwa
Isithonga sawo sizwakele e Asia
Isithonga sawo sizwakele e Africa
Isithonga sawo sizwakele e Latin America
Umuthi ozimpande zawo zinabele wonke umhlaba
Ozithelo zawo zikumazwe onke omhlaba
Liwile iqhawe lomzabalazo wentuthuko
LIHAMBILE IQHAWE ZISELE IZIBONGO !!!!!
More on Patrick Hunsley
Everyone is invited to share their stories, memories and moments with Patrick on a dedicated social media channel.
Minister Sisulu’s speech at Patrick’s funeral
Charles Hunsley speaks at his father, Patrick’s funeral
Fed Sings at Patrick’s Memorial Service