A battle exists within Berlin as a small group of people known as the Community Land Trust is growing in huge numbers to fight for their homes. Spearheaded by Andre Sacharow, the aim of the Trust is to save communities by slowly, but surely, buying out their homes so that residents can rent in peace without worrying about the ever-increasing prices.
In the video, viewers get to experience a walkthrough of what the Community Land Trust means through Andre's eyes and how people are coming together to prevent landlords and capitalists from buying out their buildings. Featuring success stories from a beloved shop in one of the communities (which prevented the construction of a highway) and an overview of the Prinzessinengarten in Berlin, viewers are able to understand how much it means for the community to maintain communal land to prevent capitalists from making more money at the expense of the well-being of others.
One of the success stories within the Community Land Trust is a ‘lause’ wedged within Oranjes-trasse, a popular street in Berlin filled with homes, cafes and bookshops. But within the walls of the community lies the struggle to keep their homes. Several members of the lause share their feelings about being at risk of losing their business space, some of which have been occupied for more than five years. Sharing more on their experiences at the lause by not only been friends but also standing together as communities, a beautiful movement is born: The Last Shirt – a protest against capitalists where the community hang up their shirts on the windows to express their pain at losing their homes. It is a symbolism drawn from German tradition which means they would give anything to keep their businesses, even if it means giving off their last shirts.
In an effort to raise their concerns to the public, viewers get to see a demonstration and put faces to the community fighting for their survival in a world determined to bring them down. This passion-ate, but powerful story is one that is meant to jumpstart a global movement. The question, however, remains: Where will they go in a world where housing is difficult to find at an affordable price near the city centre? We explore.
This multimedia documentary is part of the 2018/19 training cycle of the "Young African Journalists' Accelerator Program" (YAJAP) facilitated by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation South Africa and JournAfrica!.