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Botshabelo Unemployment Movement


Our organization was founded in 1999 to address massive issues of unemployment, democratic control and social injustices and in a non-sectarian manner. Botshabelo Unemployed Movement (BUM) aims to serve, both the rural and peri-urban poor communities of our province. Botshabelo, meaning “a place of refuge”, is a large township set up by the then apartheid government 45 km east of BloemfonteinFree State province, South Africa.

Botshabelo is located on the N8 road and is the second largest township in South Africa after Soweto. Population is mainly composed of people speaking Southern Sotho and Xhosa. The township has over 200 000 inhabitants and over 50 000 households as of 2011 census. 40% of the population is without jobs. About 20% of the population has no formal housing and only a third of the people of Botshabelo has a flush toilet connected to sewerage. Illiteracy is high with only 25% with a Grade 12 certificate.

BUM’s has adopted and implemented a number of campaigns and projects over the past years. These include workshops on skills development, rights of workers, what is Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and work with farm workers and also recently we organised a campaign around the Right to Food, Climate Change.

As Botshabelo Unemployed Movement, we focus on strengthening the capacity of the unemployed to organise effectively and to advocate for their issues. We create a platform to the community to discuss and dialogue on socio-economic factors that affect their living conditions. We are guided by a constitution that was adopted at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). At this AGM a new leadership was elected and a strategic focus was agreed upon. BUM has a small office in the community with the most basic office infrastructure. At our office we also have a Resource and Information Centre (RIC) with books we received as donation. We have weekly reading and writing group of unemployed people based at Resource and Information Centre.

Our values:

  • We believe in empowering communities by raising awareness and consciousness of the leadership and base members, using wider range of expert partners’ and associates.
  • We believe that each member of community has potential that needs to be actively identified and released resulting in improved self-image, this will improve their living conditions in general.
  • We believe in self-organisation and collective action.


  • To strengthen the capacity of the unemployed to organize effectively and advocate for themselves.
  • To speed up the empowerment and to advocate the right to work act.
  • To develop public awareness regionally and provincially about the right to work programmes.