The Hook spoke to the new National Chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa, Smangaliso Mageba.
The new leader of the CLSA pack is from a fishing village in Kwazulu Natal named kwaDapha. Smanga, as he is called, aged 42, started fishing at the age of 10 years. He said that he used to follow his parents when they went to the sea and that is how he got hooked.
“My parents used to go sea almost every day and when I was old enough I started going with them,” Smanga said. “When my parents used to come home with sea food I would be interested as to where and how they got it, so once day I followed them,” Smanga continued.
At a tender age of 10 years Smanga kept on going to the sea, when he was not at school and continued to fish. Currently Smanga is assisting Amagagasoshintsho with the registration of fishers in KZN. His duties as a CLSA chairperson will commence when this process is done.
He joined Coastal Links South Africa in 2011 but was not an active member until 2013. He says that he was recruited by Lindani Ngubane, fieldworker for Masifundise and he would always hear how some community members spoke about Masifundise, the secretariat of CLSA.
“I’d always hear how some community members say that they have been helped by Masifundise to gain access to the sea,” commented Smanga. “This is what I plan to continue doing during my tenure as the national chairperson”.
As a new national chairperson of CLSA, Smanga plans to strengthen the organisation’s work. He said that strengthening the ties between CLSA branches across the country is one of many important tasks to execute and to achieve.
“We need to be on the same level as branches, and that means exchanging ideas and providing support services for each branch”. He says that the task can seem daunting but if the executive and members can work together this can be achieved.
Smanga also says that solving the many problems fishers face is also an important task. He said that access to the sea is still a big issue for many fishers in SA, it is important for the organisation to continue lobbying and advocating for the rights of fishermen to access the ocean.
“We are facing a problem of being removed from our fishing communities and this is not only a case of KZN, but all along our coastline” he said. “Fishers lose their source of livelihoods under the guise of conservation.”
He said that protection of the resource is necessary and fishers need to work together to protect their resource.
“Working together to save and rehabilitate our resource is very important for our survival”. Smanga said that this is a responsibility that fishers had to take and they have to be the guardians of the sea.
As the national chairperson, Smanga would like to motivate CLSA and Masifundise to keep on going strong and strengthen more communities.
“I would like to say thank you to Masifundise and CLSA for helping fishers in our communities, let’s keep on working together for an even stronger and united movement,” he commented.