An exhibition by award-winning photographer Tina Remiz, showcasing the daily lives of street vendors and market traders in Zambia struggling for their right to work in the city

Who we are

As part of the global justice movement, War on Want fights for people to come before profit. With the majority of the world’s population living in cities shaped and created on the basis of corporate and state power, we believe that it should be people themselves that have the right to shape and recreate their cities, not profit.

War on Want works with social movements to create positive structures of resistance to the forces denying them their Right to the City in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya.

In the global south at least one in two people eke out a living informally, many scraping a living as street vendors and market traders. Selling anything and everything they can to make ends meet, cities and towns are central to their survival. However, they are frequently met with harassment, discrimination and criminalisation, whilst working in appalling conditions lacking running water and sanitation.

War on Want’s partners in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia are literally taking back the streets. They organise informal traders and lobby local and national policy makers to allow street vendors and market traders to work. This fight has led to huge successes in reclaiming the Right to the City.

The Alliance for Zambia Informal Economy Associations (AZIEA) helped lobby for a presidential decree permitting street vending in Zambia. The Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (KENASVIT) managed to get a law passed in Kenya protecting traders and ensuring all cities must include spaces for people to trade. The Malawi Union for the Informal Sector (MUFIS) has organised informal workers across Malawi to fight for the Right to the City.

In South Africa, the constitution states everyone must have access to housing. Yet, like under apartheid planning, cities continue to centralise wealth and opportunity for a few. One in four are shut out, in shack settlements, without basic services like water, electricity and toilets, miles from public services or work opportunities.

War on Want’s partner, Abahlali baseMjondolo (meaning people living in shacks), is South Africa’s largest social movement. They campaign for everyone to have a life of dignity based on equal access to land, housing and basic services. Abahlali baseMjondolo has won numerous successes in their fight for the Right to the City, including a Constitutional Court battle against a law to demolish homes as part of a clean-up campaign ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

War on Want believes that a new world order is coming that must be built on the principles of justice, dignity and human rights. For this world order, people themselves must have democratic control over the city, with the right to access, occupy and use urban space.