Resistance against Exclusion,
Exploitation and Discrimination
esset logo



Sexual Violence and Patriarchy: Situating the role of patriarchy in sexual violence

The stories of black women

Sexual violence and the patriarch the experience of African women. ESSET

Our initiatives are unapologetically biased towards women, because they tend to bear the brunt of poverty, discrimination, exploitation and abuse. We have and continue to provide legal literacy, skills and leadership training to women informal traders. ESSET has held a write-workshop for women that all three ESSET programmes focus on. The women shared their stories as a means of building and empowering other women who have been and are in the same situations as theirs.


Effects of patriarchy and means to dismantle and crush patriarchy. These are their stories...


Tracing the ecumenical movement in the fight against social injustices in post-apartheid South Africa

Written by Xolelwa Mshubeki, 2016

A reflection paper on the issues raised at the Symposium on the role of the ecumenical movement in the struggle for democracy and lack of ecumenical activism against hate crimes and gender-based violence that ESSET held in September 2015.


The objective of the paper is to explore strategies for increasing ecumenical activism in post-apartheid South Africa.


Solidarity economy experiments in Brazil and Venezuela and the lessons for a Southern African debate on solidarity finance for informal trade

Written by Ibrahim Steyn, PhD candidate Sociology, University of Johannesburg. Research Funded by the Karibu Foundation, 2016

Two important conclusions could be drawn from the above assessment and lessons from the Venezuelan and Brazilian solidarity economy experiments. Firstly, self-management and institutional support to the solidarity economy are not opposites. Secondly, micro-credit has both a dark and a light face. On the one hand, micro-credit minimalism serves as a neoliberal safety net aimed at managing the crises created by unbridled capitalism through entrepreneurialism.


Youth Voices for Social Change in Maila Mapitsane

An initiative of Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation 2013-2014. Funded by Mensen met een Missie (MMM)
The aim of this pamphlet is to give voice to the youth of Maila Mapitsane on the socioeconomic
and political challenges faced by their community. The pamphlet contains a collection of short and pungent personal stories in furtherance of an initiative started by Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET) in 2013 to promote solidarity and collective action in poor working class communities through collective story-telling and demand-making.





Socioeconomic rights in post-apartheid South Africa: How do they articulate to poor people’s material expectations of democracy?

Written by Ibrahim Steyn, Department of Political Science, UWC Research report, March 2010 commissioned by the Democracy Development Programme, 2016
The secondary analysis and grassroots perceptions presented here intimate a disjuncture between the cluster of socioeconomic rights enshrined in the South African Constitution and the material expectations that poor grassroots citizens have of democracy. Many of South Africa’s disproportionately poor and unemployed citizens in black working class communities continue to wait restively for the grand democratic promise of “a better life for all”, whilst those in the upper social classes –black and white - have been harvesting the economic and social fruits of the 1994 democratic breakthrough. Read more...


The informal economy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Challenges, recommendations and demands

A briefing paper prepared for the SADC Civil Society Forum and Heads of State meeting in Mozambique 6-9 August 2012.
Based on the outcomes of discussions with local and cross-border traders in five countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho. The discussions are part of an ongoing participatory research project that ESSET embarked on in April 2012 to deepen and enhance the collective knowledge of the informal traders participating in the project and ours about the policy, organizational and political challenges impeding street and market trade. But first, the paper presents a short overview of the size and shape of the informal economy with reference to SADC countries. Read more...