Solidarity is about taking joint responsibility to work for a fair world. It’s about justice, fair distribution of resources and power, and right to development for all. With the solidarity award, we want to acknowledge the value of solidarity.
Emil Boss, Jarl Keber and Mikael Lindegren, whose involvement in trade union issues at Systembolaget set the foundation for the campaign Rättvis Vinhandel.Read more
Afrikagrupperna handed out the solidarity prize for the sixth year in a row. This year, the prize goes to Emil Boss, Jarl Keber and Mikael Lindegren, whose commitment to trade issues at Systembolaget formed the foundation for Rättvis Vinhandel (the Fair Wine Trade campaign).
– The Board has unanimously chosen to appoint Emil Boss, Jarl Keber and Mikael Lindegren to the prize winner of Afrikagrupperna´s Solidarity Prize 2017. Emil, Jarl and Michael have taken the battle for both Swedish and international labour law through his struggle for sustainable labour and living conditions for wine- producing workers, Nike Dahlskog, Chairman of Afrikagrupperna says.
Emil, Jarl and Mikael, in collaboration with a South African labour force, have been working to ensure that wine workers officials’ voices are heard by wine producers, wine importers and wine monopoly. Their commitment to for the farm workers working conditions began in 2009 when Systembolaget informed that they would ensure ethical terms throughout the supply chain. At the same time, Emil, Earl and Mikael read a report in the newspaper “Råd och rön” about the terrible working conditions at the vineyards in South Africa.
When we were told that our managers would travel to South Africa to investigate working conditions but only meet the vineyard owners, we became angry and demanded that they also talk to the workers, with the unions. Together with the local trade unions and the syndicalist sister union CGT in Spain, we managed to persuade the heads of all Nordic monopoly monitors to go to Sikhula Sonke’s farms and see the unmasked image of working conditions, says Emil Boss.
The following year, the group was contacted by activists in Afrikagrupperna, Emy Åstrand, Filippa Bergström and Klara Lundholm, who wanted to form a campaign that became Rättvis vinhandel. There have been many small steps in the right direction, but one of the most important is Systembolaget’s new agreement with the global trade union IUF. It was signed this year and implies some responsibility for safeguarding trade union rights in the supplier.
This agreement is a direct consequence of the boycott against Robertson Winery and Mission Review Program one year ago. It prompted the Union to finally engage in the issue and link the IUF, “said Karl.
Solidarity is about collectively taking responsibility to work for a fair world. In order to pay attention to the value of solidarity, Afrikagrupperna share the Solidarity Prize annually. The prize will be awarded to the members’ group meeting on Saturday 9 December, 20.00 at Viktoriahuset in Gothenburg.
– Their work was the starting point for the campaign Rättvis vinhandel. Emil, Jarl and Michael’s struggle has contributed invaluable to change and is an excellent example of solidarity between workers across national borders. The board of Afrikagrupperna is very pleased to announce the solidarity prize for these three, says Nike Dahlskog.
Kersti Palmberg has been active in the organization ENMT in Zimbabwe. For many years Kersti has also been spreading knowledge about Zimbabwe, democracy development and the importance of libraries contributing to knowledge development in Sweden.
“Kersti is inspiring and she has involved her entire family in her solidarity work. With the solidarity award we want to pay attention to the actions of solidarity”, says Johanna Arkåsen, the Africa Groups. Read more
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the ENMT has gone from running a small library in a classroom to run a cultural center with 27,000 books, bookshops at 40 schools and a number of study circles.
“Without the Africa Groups, none of this would have been possible,” says Kersti.
In 2015, the award went to Blank Spot Project, which through national funded foreign journalism, created a digital platform for foreign journalism.
“With courage and innovation, Blank Spot Project gives a voice to those who had not otherwise been heard”, says Johanna Arkåsen, the Africa Groups. Read more
There are many conflicts and silent disasters that do not reach the Swedish audience through established media. By focusing on foreign journalism to broaden views and nuances of the world image, Blank Spot Project contributes to increased knowledge and dedication.
“Solidarity and actions in the spirit of solidarity always need attention and encouragement. The past few weeks have shown a lot of extraordinary solidarity in a world that is burning. Together we can change the world”, says Johanna Arkåsen, the Africa Groups.
Blank Spot Project has shown the strength to mobilize people in a short time to support the project financially. The need to shed light on omitted conflicts, perspectives and continents is great. The Africa Groups therefore want to reward the initiative of Blank Spot Project and encourage continued work on rights and democracy in the name of solidarity.
“It is wonderful that our ambition is being acknowledged. But also psyched and nervous. A bit like when Obama received the peace prize for not starting a war, we get the award for our will to develop unique journalism”, says Martin Schibbey on Blank Spot Project.
In 2014, the award went to the Livsklubben Orkla Foods in Örebro and was based on the motivation: “Within the framework of the solidarity group, they have collaborated with the South African Labor Force CSAAWU”
The solidarity group has shown that the way forward for solidarity and activism is to work in parallel, both locally and globally.
Their work has previously been highlighted in the LO magazine ‘Work’ and P4 Örebro. The impact work is carried out in town and in labor unions, and it is based on two parts. The first part being the “Fair Wine Trade” campaign and the other to support and collaborate with a labor union struggling for living wages.
Johan Torgå from Livsklubben received the award at the Africa Group’s annual meeting in Linköping. He says:
“Solidarity is one of the cornerstones of the labor movement and labor unions. One can say that it is the basic principle. For us, the members of the Livsklubben Orkla Foods in Örebro, this is an important part of the union work. The distance between Sweden and South Africa is huge but the distance between their hearts and ours is very small.
We are both proud and happy that we have been awarded with the Africa Group’s Solidarity Award. Can you, as a labor union, get a finer award than a Solidarity Award?!
As I see it, solidarity is not a matter of charity; it is a matter of life and death for the unions and the labor movement as a whole. We say to our comrades in South Africa: Today we support you and tomorrow we count on your support for our struggle. A big thank you to the Africa Groups! This has given us the power to continue our work with renewed power!”
In 2013, the award went to No Border Musical, a performance by the Asylum Group in Malmö and Theater InterAkt. The performance tells us about Sweden today – about laws, people, resistance and courage. And about the hope of living in a future that belongs to everyone.
The script has been developed by people both with and without paper and many of the actors have experienced a life as paperless, but all of them are now in the asylum process. Read more
The interest of seeing the show has been great, with extra performances as a result. Musicals are not usually considered vital, but one of the actors – Aref Karami, who has been hiding in Malmö for one and a half years – has said that this asylum musical in Malmö has saved his life.
“I felt alone and thought I was aliened from the society. When I went out, I thought everyone was watching me, or the police were looking for me. At first, I could not even talk to someone I did not know, it was hard for me. But after being in the musical this past year I have received a receipt that I can play for 100 people or 1000 people. It feels really nice. Although I’m away from my real family, I also have a real family here”, he says summarizing his experience.
Recently, racism, xenophobia and borders between countries and people are topics that have been highly debated in the public. Through No Border Musical, people have been able to highlight their perspectives, both those with and without paper. They have brought the audience on a journey into the future, to show that it is possible to create a world where we still remember what solidarity means. That we all are part of the same world and that we all have the same rights.
Therefore, we think that No Border Musical, through the Asylum Group Malmö and
Theater InterAkt, is worth the year’s solidarity award.
Thank you for your dedication and solidarity!
Janne Nordstedt, Africa Groups
In 2012, the award went to Jimmy Sserwadda, who has been active on equal rights for all, for over ten years.
In Uganda, he was a part of founding the Spektra organization and also the Smug network. They are fighting against the bills that want to impose death sentences in Uganda for homosexual acts. Read more
The work is associated with danger, and Sserwadda fled to Sweden in 2008 where he continued his work by supporting asylum seekers who were persecuted because of their sexuality.
It is a solidarity worth mentioning and encouraging. A solidarity we can all learn and be inspired by, a solidarity that changes life! Jimmy Sserwadda accepted the award of 10,000 SEK and a work of art from the Tanzanian artist collective Tinga-Tinga together with his partner Lawrence Kaala.